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Majority of MENA CEOs want to combine ESG with core business

A new survey reveals steps corporate leaders are taking in the face of disruptive forces, including economic conditions, geopolitics, ESG, talent and innovation

Majority of MENA CEOs want to combine ESG with core business
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Unlike their counterparts in Europe and the US, CEOs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are more apprehensive about the macroeconomic forecast for 2023, with more believing it would worsen in the first half of the year.

According to a survey conducted by CEO advice company Teneo, 11% of CEOs in the region believe the forecast for global and domestic economies, availability to finance, industry conditions, and customer demand would deteriorate significantly. A further 44% believe the outlook will deteriorate slightly.

“The level of complexity and uncertainty facing CEOs around the world is at unprecedented levels,” said Paul Keary, CEO of Teneo, adding, “the sheer magnitude of macro issues places a premium on companies taking steps to control their fate amid an increasingly deglobalized world. These dynamics will create opportunities for companies who are nimble and decisive.”  

Globally, CEOs have indicated a tendency toward combining environmental, social, and corporate governance concerns with the core business, with the majority indicating that this would be their primary focus. 

The tendency is sharpest in the MENA region, where 80% plan to achieve a balance, compared to 20% who would prioritize core business. 

In the Americas, 14% plan to prioritize ESG, 67% will find a balance, and 25% will prioritize core business. In Europe, 17% intend to prioritize ESG, 59% intend to find a balance, and 17% intend to prioritize core business. 

CEOs in the MENA indicated they are bracing for further change in capital markets, technology, and geopolitics in the next year.

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