Moving forward with purpose and incorporating sustainability – it’s imperative today for a firm to thrive
Consumers aren’t the only ones moving the needle when it comes to purpose and sustainability. Earlier this year, Sustainable Brands (SB) brought together representatives from sustainability-focused organizations like Impossible Foods to discuss “a number of critical environmental, social, cultural and business trends that are defining the moment and shaping post-2020 and post-pandemic life.”
At the event, Dimitar Vlahov, SB’s Sustainable Business & Brand Transformation Expert, set the stage by commenting that the overlapping crises of the past year have led us to what he calls the “Great Restart” or the “Great Reset”: a moment of reckoning and new beginnings. Studies have pointed to a rise in empathy and nine out of ten consumers have reported that they are willing to pay more for ethical retailers.
Bea Boccalandro is the founder of VeraWorks, a global consulting firm whose mission is to help companies “offer employees the opportunity to do societal good through their everyday jobs.” Boccalandro recently reported this in the Harvard Business Review: employees whose work experience incorporated social purpose experienced 13% higher job satisfaction than those whose work didn’t. Boccalandro argues that social good is no longer just the responsibility of Chief Sustainability Officers— the purpose movement means CFOs, CMOs and other members of the executive leadership team must also be champions of CSR.
Paul Herman is the CEO of the impact investing firm HIP Investor. He cites five crises of our time: health, wealth, earth, equality, and trust. Herman argues that in order to promote positive purposes across these five areas we need new metrics, innovative investing, and multi-sector solutions. This includes developing new ways to measure impact and stakeholder value creation and identify gaps between policy and impact; increasing the appetite for sustainable finance, and building bridges across sectors and industries so diverse stakeholders can collaborate on solutions that benefit society as a whole.
These assertions align with what some call stakeholder capitalism. “We have to deliver great returns for our shareholders and help drive progress on society’s most important priorities,” explains Brian Moynihan, Chairman and CEO of Bank of America. “That is stakeholder capitalism in action. Common metrics will help all stakeholders measure the progress we are making and ensure that the resources capitalism can marshal — from companies, from investors, and others — are directed to where they can make the most difference.”
At the start of the pandemic, there was a fear that corporations and investment funds would force corporations to pull back on their social impact efforts. But actually, 2020 was the year that the environmental, social and governance (ESG) movement came of age.
Total assets in sustainable funds grew over 50% to $1.7 trillion last year and by the last quarter of 2020, we saw that ESG’s had become critical for organizations who wanted to attract new investors. At the close of the year more than three times as many CFOs of S&P 500 companies discussed ESG matters during fourth-quarter earnings calls in 2020 than they did three years ago.
Gloria Mirrione, sector leader for Asset Management and Impact Investing with Korn Ferry, said the pandemic led “investors of all types to accelerate the decision to align their personal values directly where they place investable dollars.”
So, consumers aren’t the only ones demanding organizations address more than the bottom line. They are one of many stakeholder groups putting pressure on organizations to be a part of solving the world’s most pressing problems.
Contributor, Daniel Goleman is the author of the best-selling Emotional Intelligence, as well as many other works in emotional and social intelligence, leadership, and education, and edits by Cliff Locks, Investment Capital Growth, Managing Director, Board Member, and Executive Coach
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Cliff Locks is a trusted mentor, confidant, and advisor to CEOs, C-Level Exec, and high-potential employees to help them clarify goals, unlock their potential, and create actionable strategic plans.
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I am a trusted mentor, confidant, and advisor available by Zoom and by phone to be your right-hand man, who will make a significant contribution and impact on your way to success.
As a Trusted Mentor, Confidant, and Advisor, I support you, along with your company’s strategic and annual operating plan. This plan may include marketing, sales, product development, supply chain, hiring policies, compensation, benefits, performance management, and succession planning.
Most successful leaders enjoy talking to someone about their experiences, which is why most develop a close relationship with a Trusted Confidant—a person with whom they feel free to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas without fear of sharing too much or being judged by the people they lead, or their colleagues and superiors. I am a sounding board who will help you to better develop and see your ideas through to fruition.
The most effective Executive find confidants who complement their strengths and sharpen their effectiveness. Bill Gates uses Steve Ballmer in this way; Warren Buffett turns to vice chairman Charlie Munger. In the end, both the Executive and their organizations benefit from these relationships.
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Successful people are often surrounded by many people, yet they insulate and isolate themselves to varying levels of degree. This isolation factor is not often discussed in the same context because the assumption is that success and wealth only solve problems. The false belief is that it does not create more problems, when, in fact, sometimes it creates a unique set of new challenges. Success and wealth do not insulate you from the same pitfalls that the everyday person faces. It may give you access to better solutions perhaps, and that is what I can help you achieve. Financial business success can create unique vulnerabilities, often overlooked as most people feel that the “problems” of the wealthy are not real-life problems.
The Executive Confidant can be particularly helpful when:
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Who can you turn to when you need to find clarity? Who is your “Executive Confidant”?
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