Key Social Impact Trends for 2023
We are saying farewell to 2022 – a year of big turmoil and contrasts. We are living through economic and geopolitical uncertainty where little to no progress is being made to narrow inequality gaps. But this year also brought some clear greenshoots in areas such as corporate accountability, mental health and climate justice and we can expect progress in 2023. Skating Panda’s vision is a world where every organisation is acting for real impact – for a sustainable planet and a healthier, happier society. We want to share with you our 2023 trend predictions in social impact and beyond. Happy reading!
- More B-Corps. In 2022 the number of B Corps in the UK has doubled to 1000. And we were one of them! We expect more businesses will make the move to achieve B Corp status as they review their governance structures, come to terms with the need to measure their effectiveness in all ways and strive for the highest social and environmental standards to drive more impact.
- Less why, more how. This year we’ve seen more businesses shift away from asking “why should we shift from purpose as profit to purpose through profit?” and “why should we do these impactful initiatives?” to “how do we do this, soon and well, maintaining competitive edge?” There is more to come on this front in 2023.
- More corporate scrutiny. Citizens (or consumers in old money) are ever less accepting of companies who simply talk instead of acting and taking a stand on important social issues. This was evident in the significant scrutiny companies faced in relation to important world events such as the war in Ukraine, Iranian protests and the Qatar World Cup.
- Increased regulations. For businesses operating in the EU, 2023 will be the last year to organise their social and environmental policies before new sustainability reporting measures come into force. The European Parliament adopted the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive in November 2022, which results in 50,000 companies having to comply with the new rules, compared to only 12,000 companies in previous years. 2023 will be the year when companies have to get their house in order.
- Deeper NGO/ corporate partnering. Mis-and disinformation continues to be a challenge and a threat to operations, in many cases fuelled by social media platforms that are becoming increasingly toxic and unreliable. To combat this, NGOs and corporations will partner more to help foster a stronger civil society and look for other and better ways to own their narrative and stories on their own platforms or new social platforms that are emerging.
Social and Environmental Responsibility
As companies become more socially active through their corporate sustainability strategies we have identified four key areas where real impact can be made.
- Youth mental health. The scale of this crisis became clear in 2022 with one survey showing that one in four children aged six to sixteen have a probable mental disorder – a rise from one in ten in 2017. But it was also the year that saw a breakthrough in people’s comfort talking about their mental health and in doing so, continuing to break the taboo which provides an opportunity for society to tackle this challenge properly.
- Climate crisis and climate justice. While COP27 didn’t deliver the radical outcome many wanted and the planet needs, there were two significant outcomes. First, the announcement of the first ‘loss and damage’ fund where developed countries will help finance the recovery and rebuilding of developing countries struck by the climate crisis. Second, the UN report speaking against From 2023 onwards, countries and corporations will be expected to play a greater part in repairing the damage done to our environment and finding ways to operate in the future that is in harmony with planetary boundaries.
- Pay gaps. While organisations in the private and non-profit sector with 250 or more employees are required by law to publish gender pay gap data, companies are not legally required to report on disparities on pay regarding ethnicity or race, and so accountability on this issue has not been achieved. Particularly with the cost-of-living crisis, we believe that discussions around the ethnicity pay gap, and subsequent reporting measures, are likely to be discussed more in the new year.
- Cost-of-living crisis. With inflation remaining high, a steep rise in energy bills and increased industrial action as wages fail to rise in line with inflation, many will continue to face severe financial insecurity. This will put pressure on companies and governments to balance this crisis with the need to tackle climate crisis and other social issues such as wage gaps and new ways of working. We will see brands continue to acknowledge the cost-of-living in their communications and actions.
If you’d like more information on these trends or want to accelerate your social impact in 2023, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org