The same survey in 2015 failed to even ask corporate leaders about the risks of climate change, as the issue did not make it into the top 19 risks the CEOs identified.
But the 2016 report shows that half now see climate change as a threat to their growth prospects.
While this is a welcome improvement, climate change still ranks at only number 11 on their list of concerns, despite a year that has been marked by an increase in extreme weather events and some of the warmest temperatures on record.
In fact, a survey of 750 experts conducted by WEF showed that a catastrophe caused by climate change is seen as the biggest potential threat in 2016 to the world economy.
Another key change is that more than half the business leaders see a lack of trust in business as being a major roadblock to their future success, up from just over a third three years ago.
This is raising fears in boardrooms that customers will start to desert brands if they continue to put focus on profits to the exclusion of values. CEOs put this sea change down to the power of social media, which is driving increased transparency and empowering customers to hold them to account for their actions.
Brands are also witnessing that the collapse in their reputation can be felt almost immediately if they are found to have acted irresponsibly.
“These technologies are giving more people more access to more information about what companies do and the impact of their actions,” concludes the PwC report. “Together, these factors are helping to reshape how people interact with and think about brands.”