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Canadian CEOs rank sustainability and cyber risk as greatest challenges: study

Monica Ferguson   

General Sustainability Manufacturing Business Canada cyber risk manufacturing Sustainability

Photo: IBM.

An IBM study including Canadian CEOs found that 56 per cent ranked sustainability as a high priority for the first time ever. This represents a leap from a year ago when 31 per cent of Canadian leaders cited sustainability among their priorities.

CEOs in Canada report receiving the greatest pressure on environmental sustainability from board members at 79 per cent and investors at 68 per cent, with consumers at 17 per cent. Additional pressure comes from regulators at 56 per cent, government at 55 per cent and ecosystem partners at 52 per cent. Pressure from employees came in at 12 per cent.

When asked if they felt confident, they would achieve their overall sustainability targets, 53 per cent of Canadian CEOs said yes, while 24 per cent said the targets announced by government for their industry are not achievable.

One of the notable challenges when it comes to executing their sustainability strategies appears to be having enough skilled employees to deliver, 35 per cent of Canadian CEOs say they have people and skills needed and 21 per cent indicated that their sustainability efforts had any impact on recruiting talent.

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Cyber risk is the only challenge weighing more heavily than environmental sustainability according to those surveyed. Cited as a top priority by 57 per cent of Canadian CEOs in 2022 (46 per cent in 2021), cybersecurity awareness appears to be growing more important in the face of increasingly costly and frequent attacks, costs rose to CA$6.75 million per incident on average last year, an all-time high for Canada.

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