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PwC Survey: CEOs Link Innovation, Sustainability to 2024 Growth

The 27th Annual Global CEO Survey conducted by PwC has provided insights into the expectations and priorities of CEOs worldwide. The survey, which interviewed 4,702 CEOs from 105 countries, including 203 in Italy, revealed a significant increase in the percentage of CEOs expecting global economic growth to rise in the next twelve months (38% compared to 18% in 2023). Among the key themes highlighted by the CEOs are those related to the development of artificial intelligence and sustainability.

According to Erika Andreetta, a partner at PwC Italy, one of the main themes emphasized in the survey is the role of AI in improving efficiency within businesses. In fact, 61% of the CEOs surveyed believe that it will enhance operational efficiency in the next twelve months. Furthermore, there is a growing focus on sustainability, with 45% of CEOs globally expressing concerns about the long-term sustainability of their business models due to technological and environmental factors.

An exemplary case of a company embracing innovation and green initiatives is Kiko Milano, a cosmetic company with a revenue of 800 million in 2023. Over the past two years, the company has embarked on a plan of acceleration aimed at expanding its presence to 78 countries while also publishing its first sustainability report for the fiscal year 2023. The CEO Simone Dominici highlights the company’s transition from a mass retailer to a global premium brand B2C, which has allowed for increased profitability through reduced reliance on promotions and enhanced marketing investments. One of the key drivers of Kiko Milano’s growth strategy is its international expansion. By opening four countries last year and aiming to open twelve more this year, Kiko Milano is on track to be present in 78 countries by the end of 2024. The integration of artificial intelligence has played a crucial role in Kiko Milano’s operations, particularly in the areas of planning, forecasting, and customer loyalty. By leveraging machine learning algorithms, Kiko Milano can optimize its sales strategies, personalize customer experiences, and establish direct communication with consumers. The CEO emphasizes that AI is meant to complement human intelligence, with a focus on building meaningful relationships with customers, as evidenced by the concept of “conversation rate” over traditional conversion metrics.

In line with its commitment to sustainability, Kiko Milano has taken proactive steps to reduce its environmental footprint. By utilizing recyclable materials for merchandising items in its stores and implementing energy-saving measures, the company has managed to save 140 tons of plastic in just two years. Kiko Milano’s upcoming sustainability report will certify its efforts to minimize its impact on the environment, reflecting its ethos of inclusivity and respect for both people and the planet.

The findings of the PwC Global CEO Survey demonstrate a shift towards embracing innovation, sustainability, and artificial intelligence among CEOs worldwide. Companies like Kiko Milano are leading the way in adopting green practices, expanding internationally, and leveraging AI to drive growth and enhance customer experiences.

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