FleishmanHillard Study Finds Global Business Decision Makers Support Multilateral Cooperation on Critical Issues, with Corporations Playing an Important Role
More than Four in Five Executives Believe Multilateralism is Effective in Driving Outcomes that are Beneficial to Their Businesses and Solving Global Challenges
ST. LOUIS, May 26, 2021 — As the world continues to grapple with a myriad of issues, from the COVID-19 pandemic to international trade, global business executives overwhelmingly believe multilateral efforts are effective. According to a new survey of 713 business decision makers by FleishmanHillard TRUE Global Intelligence, 74% of leaders globally are confident in the role that corporations play in bolstering international cooperation, but fewer feel that corporations are an essential part of the new multilateralism in partnership with governments (58% confidence) and international organizations (57% confidence).
The survey found a mix of optimism and realism from business leaders in seven major economies: Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom and United States. The majority of business decision makers (73%) are confident about economic recovery over the next 24 months, but nearly half (45%) expect geopolitical issues to disrupt business more over the next year than they have in the past 12 months.
FleishmanHillard is the global communications partner for the Global Solutions Summit and is releasing the findings in conjunction with the event that runs May 27- 28. The event will examine the top economic, social, sustainability and technology issues facing the G20. UN Secretary-General António Guterres, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are among speakers who will be joined by corporate and NGO leaders.
“For business to invest and drive growth, a stable business environment is needed,” said Mette Grolleman, general manager of FleishmanHillard in Brussels. “Uncertainty leads to reduced investments and lower growth — regionally and globally. Businesses are facing issues that can only be addressed globally. While business leaders are confident in their own company’s abilities, the significance of political leadership and driving a stable business environment cannot be underestimated.”
While business leaders are more confident in their own company’s ability to navigate global issues, the survey found that these leaders feel as strongly as ever about the role they play in international affairs. More than seven in 10 surveyed said corporations should work with and support governments to address global issues (73%). Overall, 65% said they believe the business community should take a leadership role. That sentiment was even higher in China (74%), the UK (71%) and Brazil (70%). At the same time, 71% said direct government intervention is needed on issues like climate change for corporations to thrive.
The research found the issues that business leaders feel are most important personally — such as human rights and public health — are not the same issues they feel need to be addressed to foster economic growth, which include infrastructure, energy, the environment and trade.
Demonstrating the rising importance of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues for companies and their investors, more than one in three business leaders (36%) feel that ESG criteria currently has a great deal of impact on their business decision making, and most (89%) say that sustainability and the environment is an important issue. Half (52%) believe that each of these ESG pillars should impact their businesses’ go-to-market strategy and decision making today.
Recovery and Disruptions
Global business leaders (73%) are most confident that the ongoing growth and recovery from COVID-19 will take 24 months, and they are equally confident in the ability of a multilateral system to support the recovery.
Still, they expect COVID-19 to be the most disruptive issue for business over the next 12 months, followed by cybersecurity, supply chain, tax policy and trade disputes. Additionally, three out of four global leaders feel that misinformation is a barrier to corporate success.
Looking forward, nearly half of leaders (45%) believe that disruptions from such issues will increase over the next 12 months.
FleishmanHillard will release a full report on the findings of this study in June 2021.
TRUE Global Intelligence, the in-house research practice of FleishmanHillard, fielded an online survey in May 2021 among a total of 713 senior leaders of global companies responsible for making strategic decisions in the following markets: Brazil (n= 103), China (n= 103), France (n= 102), Germany (n= 100), Italy (n= 105), UK (n= 100) and U.S. (n=100). The margin of error is =/- 3.57%.
FleishmanHillard specializes in public relations, reputation management, public affairs, brand marketing, digital strategy, social engagement and content strategy. FleishmanHillard was named 2020 Campaign Global PR Agency of the Year; 2019 PRWeek U.S. Outstanding Large Agency; 2019 Holmes Report North America Large Agency of the Year; ICCO Network of the Year – Americas 2017-2020; PRovoke Media Greater China Consultancy of the Year 2020; PRWeek UK Best Places to Work 2020; Human Rights Campaign Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality 2018-2020; and NAFE’s “Top Companies for Executive Women” 2010-2020. The firm’s award-winning work is widely heralded, including at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity. FleishmanHillard is part of Omnicom Public Relations Group and has 80 offices in more than 30 countries, plus affiliates in 50 countries.
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