Recently, we discussed the effects of activism and advocacy on corporate sustainability. In this article, we cover the CEO’s role in activism and advocacy.
In a recent study, Edelman Trust Barometer found almost two thirds of respondents wanted CEOs to show initiative when it comes to policy change instead of waiting for government. The study also found that 69% of participants in the survey said that trust should be the first priority for CEOs, more so than ensuring high-quality products and services.
This huge shift in consumer attitudes highlights a greater need for change among top executives around the world.
It is vital for a CEO to be on board with the business’ stand on economic, social and environmental sustainability as well as be able to convey their own personal beliefs and opinions. Not only does this build consumer trust, but it also allows consumers to connect with the head of the company on a more personal level, building rapport.
A great way for a CEO to become involved in activism and advocacy in the most diplomatic way possible is to take on a more active role in a not-for-profit with which the CEO’s organisation is connected. For example, if an organisation donates partial profits to a wildlife conservation fund, the CEO of said organisation can find a way to become more involved in the fund — whether it be in a board capacity, a promotional role or through a more hands-on approach.
As with organisational activism, it is important for a CEO to remember that they need to bring their customers on a journey with them to have them understand the need for economic, social and environmental sustainability. Education is a vital part of the journey.
To find out more information on this topic, contact Strategic Sustainability Consultants today!