Ragan Research: Social backlash comes to work

Data from the 2024 Communications Benchmark Report indicates a partly cloudy forecast for the future of DE&I and ESG efforts. 

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There’s been a lot of debate in recent times about the role of social causes in the corporate office.

As interest rates ticked up, bosses focused their attention on core business activities at the expense of perceived non-core activities like environment, social and governance (ESG) efforts. And after a few years in the spotlight, some argue the light has started to fade on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives.

Data from Ragan’s 2024 Communications Benchmark Report appears to show that speculation is a reality. Communicators’ emphasis on environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts dipped 8% this year, and those same communicators are also anticipating less focus on DE&I in the next three years.

The 2024 report, the sixth edition of this signature research project conducted for members of Ragan’s Communications Leadership Council, is based on a survey of nearly 1,000 communicators worldwide. While data from this year’s report points to a backlash against social and environmental causes, there’s a more nuanced story to be told.

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