The latest research from the Oxford-GlobeScan Global Corporate Affairs 2023 Survey Report finds that geopolitical risk and uncertainty are once again perceived to be the greatest short-term category of risk to global businesses, having risen to the number-one slot in last year’s survey as the continuing war in Ukraine and heightened East-West tensions embed these threats.
Climate change is the second most significant risk, specifically reflecting deep concerns over the impact of the environment, but with growing political resistance in some parts of the world. Rising significantly since last year are the business risks associated with the macro-economy, replacing the much more tactical issue of supply chain management.
In order to avoid focusing solely on downside risks, the survey for the first time asked Corporate Affairs professionals what they see as the areas offering the biggest opportunities for global businesses in the next two years. Innovation, digitalization, and AI is the most-cited area of opportunity for business as developments in technology offer ever more nimble and personalized ways of engagement. This is followed by the ability of organizations to adapt to climate change and a just energy transition.
At a more corporate level, trust, and purpose continue to be significant areas of focus. Providing quality products and services is now seen as the strongest driver of trust in companies.
The perception that political populism and polarization is a risk to business has increased again this year, but as polarization intensifies, companies seem to be shying away from taking strong public positions on issues for fear of provoking a backlash or accusations of greenwashing or being “woke.”
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.