Report: Geopolitical Risk and Uncertainty is the Number One Corporate Affairs Priority​

Oxford-GlobeScan Global Corporate Affairs Survey 2022

In our annual survey of global Corporate Affairs professionals, GlobeScan partners with Oxford University’s Saïd Business School to understand global trends, priorities, challenges, and best practices in the arena of Corporate Affairs. Our latest survey took place in the context of businesses having to come to terms with new challenges that have arisen from high inflation, post-COVID ways of working, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Geopolitical risk and uncertainty has become the number one Corporate Affairs priority since last year’s results, no doubt in response not only to the war in Ukraine, but also to the rise of populism globally. On a list of priorities being tracked during the past three years, geopolitical risk and related uncertainty has overtaken the climate agenda in terms of importance and immediacy to act, at least in the short term. Last year’s most significant risk, ESG, is second this year with supply chain issues the next most pressing priority. Pandemic concerns have fallen from last year’s second place to 11th.

Despite the unsurprising and fast rise of geopolitical concerns, the inexorable growth of ESG as a major focus for Corporate Affairs around the world continues as stakeholders of all descriptions further embed their engagement with companies as business broadly adapts to a ‘living with the virus’ world. It is no surprise then that climate change, inequality, and net zero are the most pressing areas of concern.

With the increasing number and pace of issues affecting organisations globally, Corporate Affairs has found itself ever more centrally placed to help make sense of a complex environment. This is reflected by the fact that when asked about activities that have become a more or less prominent part of the role compared to three years ago, the majority of Corporate Affairs professionals say that capturing the social context in which business operates is paramount. This would seem to be an important milestone in the evolution of the function, taking it further into the realms of strategy and leadership.

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About the Oxford-GlobeScan Global Corporate Affairs Partnership

The University of Oxford and GlobeScan formalised a partnership in 2019 to deliver enhanced insight into the roles, responsibilities, challenges, opportunities, and themes facing leading global Corporate Affairs professionals around the world. The primary purpose of the partnership is to generate valuable research findings for organisations, senior executives, and Corporate Affairs leaders through a regular “pulse” of novel, timely, and data-driven insights about the evolution of the Corporate Affairs agenda.

More information is available here.

About Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

In 2011, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, created the Corporate Affairs Academy, a research-led programme for leading global Corporate Affairs professionals interested in developing greater insights and shared best practice. Seated within the Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation, this invitation-only annual academy programme focuses on reputation thinking and engagement combined with functional and professional development and has hosted over 120 leading professionals from Asia, Australasia, China, Russia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Scandinavia, and the Americas.

Each year the Academy publishes a summary of its discussions in a white paper, copies of which are available through the Corporate Affairs Academy website.

More information is available here.