CEOs' political stances 'playing increasing role in funding decisions'

Josh Hall's picture

More than two-thirds of the CEOs of the world's largest companies say they are likely to take a public stand on political issues related to global challenges.

This is according to the latest annual CEO Imperative Study from EY.

The study also found that CEOs who do make their feelings known can be confident they will be backed up, with 76 per cent of board directors and 79 per cent of investors saying they are likely to support a CEO who takes a stand.

But business leaders' public stances on global issues are also becoming a funding issue.

EY reports that 55 per cent of institutional investors say that CEO activism on global challenges has factored into funding decisions "frequently or very frequently" over the past two years.

And the importance of corporate stance on big issues is set to grow, with 83 per cent of investors saying it will become a more important factor in decision-making over the next five years.

Commenting on the findings, Carmine Di Sibio, EY Global Chairman and CEO, said: "CEOs, boards and investors recognize they have a role to play -- along with the public sector -- in addressing social challenges that speak to their values and in pursuing inclusive, sustainable growth. It's encouraging to see signs of support within the investment community for long-term value creation."

The report follows news suggesting that consumers are also placing more stock in businesses' positions on hot topics.

As previously reported, a survey published in May found that two-thirds of UK consumers think climate change is an "urgent issue" for brands, while 60 per cent believe responsibility for the problem lies with CEOs.

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