Asia-Pacific Leads in Sustainability Leadership

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by KnowESG
KnowESG_Asia-Pacific Leads in Sustainability Leadership
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Boyden, an esteemed global leadership and talent consultancy, has unveiled its annual worldwide executive talent research, featuring a comprehensive analysis of the Asia-Pacific region.

The outcomes underscore an astute and globally pioneering emphasis on sustainability in the realms of skills, growth, investment, and corporate culture.

The global survey, titled "Exploring Adaptivity through Strategy and Talent," delves into the perspectives on risk held by CEOs, board members, and other senior leaders, alongside trends in executive talent, their priorities, and areas of investment.

As business leaders on a global scale endeavour to steer their organisations towards sustainability, the Asia-Pacific findings paint a compelling picture. They reveal that an impressive 29 per cent of respondents have appointed a Chief Sustainability Officer, a figure surpassing the 12 per cent in Europe and 11 per cent in North America.

Allan Marks, the Managing Partner at Boyden Australia, offers insights, stating, "The profound focus on sustainability and ESG underscores the growing recognition of sustainability as a catalyst for growth and corporate responsibility within the Asia-Pacific business landscape. Clients in the industrial sector are increasingly viewing sustainability as a growth enabler, actively committing to leadership development and the recruitment of fresh talent to address resourcing challenges and maintain competitiveness."

Skills in sustainability have emerged as one of the top three priorities for bolstering expertise at the board and executive levels to harness the potential offered by 'sustainability opportunities.' This area ranked at the bottom among growth drivers in 2022, but now, for a quarter of respondents, it sits as one of the top three drivers of growth. This shift is a response to the strong consumer demand for sustainable products and brands aligned with ESG principles.

Shalini Kandhari, a Partner at Boyden India, adds her perspective, saying, "In the consumer and retail sector in India, adaptability is the standout quality among leaders. They are crafting strategies for sustainable supply chains and environmentally friendly product lines to reduce their carbon footprint, appealing to eco-conscious consumers. This has led to a fusion of tradition and modernity in the retail experience, with leaders concentrating on digital payments, omnichannel strategies, and eco-friendly packaging."

Other significant findings reveal a pronounced global outlook within the region. An impressive 72 per cent express an extremely likely or likely intent to hire more globally oriented executives, surpassing the 47 per cent global average. Global growth, as a driver of structural change, holds more weight in Asia-Pacific compared to regional growth, with 37 per cent versus 29 per cent, respectively.

William J. Farrell, the Managing Partner for Taiwan and South Korea, explains, "Boards within Asia-Pacific companies are adapting to evolving dynamics, including slower growth in China and the drive for non-Chinese suppliers. They are quick to seize opportunities for improved market positioning and growth by responding effectively, with a clear emphasis on recruiting global talent. Such talent plays a pivotal role in meeting shifting supply chain demands and ensuring the leadership of more competitive and internationally effective teams."

When it comes to sustainability investment, a remarkable 81 per cent of President/CEOs believe their organisations are allocating sufficient resources, in contrast to the global average of 58 per cent. On the cultural front, there's evident progress, with 56 per cent of Asia-Pacific respondents reporting that ESG is either 'deeply embedded in the organisational culture' or 'an integral part of most business decisions,' up from 44 per cent in 2022.

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Source: Boyden

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