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What will the world look like once the pandemic has passed? It’s not easy to view the path of a hurricane from its center, but business leaders are having to make bets based on their best guesses of the future. In our annual survey, we asked the CEOs of the Fortune 500 whether they agreed or disagreed with some of the predictions being floated these days about how things will permanently change. Here are the ones a majority of CEOs agreed with:
“Business travel will become less frequent, replaced by video conferencing.” – 91% agreed.
“Nationalism will rise, and global supply chains will become less common.” – 82% agreed.
“Government surveillance techniques will become more common worldwide.” – 81% agreed.
A majority disagreed with this one:
“Trust in government will rise, as a result to their response to the crisis.” – 55% disagreed.
And the CEOS split near the middle on these three:
“China will be strengthened as a power in the world” – 42% agreed, 38% disagreed.
“Trust in capitalism will rise, as a result of the business response to the crisis.” – 28% agreed, 24% disagreed.
“Concern about the environment will fall, as a result of more immediate focus on economic problems.” – 42% agreed, 35% disagreed.
Separately, Land O’Lakes CEO Beth Ford spoke virtually with the Fortune Most Powerful Women community yesterday about the disruption the pandemic is causing to the food system. “Production is not the issue,” she said. “We have plenty of food. Part of the problem is we have too much milk, too many cattle, too many hogs. What we have is a distribution problem.”
The challenge, she said, is that “over time, these supply chains were made hyper efficient. Everything was ‘just-in-time.’“ When restaurants shut down and home demand soared, “there was just not a lot of room to change… It’s not easy to change your platform because the margins are so narrow.”