NEW YORK — With concerns about sustainability and the like on the upswing, nearly two-thirds (65%) of in-house comms leaders see stakeholder capitalism as business’s biggest opportunity in 2023, according to new research from Page.

Participants in the organization’s survey of 56 CCOs from North America (67%), Europe (24%), APAC (7%) and the Middle East (2%) said current socio and political conditions provide companies the chance to become leaders in areas like sustainability, climate change and clean energy. Businesses also have opportunity to provide values-based leadership on societal and geopolitical issues, respondents said.

CCOs, however, also noted that business faces formidable risk, particularly around the economy. Forty-one percent of respondents named economic difficulty the top risk, particularly the prospect of layoffs.

With that, participants said, come challenges to communicators, like how to message caution without creating alarm, and not abandoning focus on the likes of ESG and DEI.

Thirty percent of CCOs listed geopolitical risks as their top concern, citing China, energy security, military conflict and growing nationalist/protectionist agendas.

Meantime, 25% see the biggest risk in waning trust in business, government and media, political polarization, racism and misinformation, signaling the challenges of earning and keeping trust in an increasingly divided society.

Where employees fit in depends on who you ask.

With the war for talent as a backdrop, Nearly one-third of respondents named employee challenges as their largest business threat, while another one-third said employees and culture would be their largest business opportunity.

Meantime, 18% of CCOs see the greatest opportunity for business in enterprise transformation in areas such as digital operations, audience analysis/ targeting and supply chain resiliency.