For CEOs in India, the immediate business headaches are slowing growth in major economies, high inflation, macroeconomic volatility and geopolitical risk. Yet climate change and sustainability are looming challenges that they realise must also be addressed now.
Their concerns are reflected in the sample of India CEOs in PwC’s 26th annual global CEO survey. Conducted in the last quarter of 2022, the survey polled respondents on three topics: the race for the future, today’s tensions and a balanced agenda.
The survey shows that CEOs in India are optimistic about growth despite the global economic slowdown, continuing high inflation and the impact of the war in Ukraine on the rest of the world. It also shows that they recognise the need to reinvent their business models to resist climate change while retaining a skilled workforce.
Race for the future
CEOs in India, as elsewhere, are engaged in a race to see off longer term threats to their companies, to society and to the planet itself. They recognise the potential for long-term mega-trends such as climate change, tech disruption, demographic shifts, a fracturing world and social instability to dramatically reshape the business environment. The survey findings show their three-pronged response is to innovate, to decarbonise and to craft an enterprise-level climate strategy in parallel.
Macroeconomic conditions are deteriorating, uncertainty is rising and inflation has hit levels not seen in decades. It is also clear that geopolitical flashpoints are a major worry for India’s CEOs, prompting them to adjust their supply chains as part of their resilience planning.
A difficult balancing act has to be pulled off if CEOs are to overcome the near-term obstacles while reinventing the business for the future. Upskilling (85%), process automation (82%) and tech deployment (81%) are the top investment areas. Tech deployment (61%) and business model decarbonisation (59%) are the top priorities for business reinvention.