Rethinking Canada’s Economy: Setting the goal before profit will ultimately produce the highest returns
In Canada’s very first Purpose in Business Week, corporations, governments and thought leaders create a roadm – to accelerate the purpose economy and mainstream corporate social purpose that requires cross-industry engagement and collaboration across six key levers.
The pandemic caused a lull in the economy and an opportunity to review our assumptions about how business was working. There is a new, wider awareness that the pandemic recovery may make it easier to reconsider the role of business in the economy.
We are witnessing tectonic changes in what society expects of the economy and what the economy expects of itself. More and more business leaders agree that short-term, profit-oriented thinking must be replaced by long-term, stakeholder-centered, purpose-oriented thinking. Not only is this the path to business success, but also the path to unleashing the resources and reach of businesses to address the climate emergency, growing inequality, pandemic and other societal challenges.
Bottom line: We are looking at a historic moment to resh -e an economy that better reflects Canadian values. Canadians and the companies they work for and run can create an inclusive, low-carbon, purpose-built economy fueled by the pursuit of long-term well-being for all – in which business, regulatory and financial systems are fair, prosperous and resilient System promote the future.
This week (November 15-19) is Canadais the very first Purpose in the business week; along with Summit to drive the goal (November 17-18) it lays the foundation for Canada’s purpose-built economy. Businesses, governments and thought leaders come together to create a roadm – to accelerate the purpose economy and incorporate social purpose into business through six key levers: Corporate governance,
post-secondary education, Trade and professional associations,
Ecosystem activation, public order and earmarked procurement.
Hear 75 Insights from 25 Purposeful Brand Leaders …
Not sure where or if to start your company’s social cause? After learning from dozens of them, you will understand how businesses of all sizes and sh -es in every industry can benefit from having a clear social purpose defined.
Interestingly, 15 percent of companies participate in the Toronto Stock Exchange
have a declared social purpose; although many have not fully integrated their purpose into their day-to-day operations. It’s a good start, but more needs to be done to create a purpose-built economy.
When BlackRock CEO Larry Fink Sent his letter to CEOs in 2018, urging CEOs to define their purpose and propelling social purpose to the fore in business thinking. Fast forward to 2021, Fink reported that the pandemic that broke out in 2020 accelerated c -ital investments in sustainable assets worldwide to $ 288 billion, up 96 percent year over year. Fink wrote in his letter from 2021: “In the course of 2020 we saw how targeted companies with better environmental, social and governance profiles (ESG) outperform their competitors.”
The purpose-built business case includes better employee retention and attractiveness. Recent research by Edelman indicates that the current Employee Value Proposition (EVP) now includes traditional pay and career advancement, a more recent focus on employee wellbeing: “The Employee Value Proposition (EVP) now looks like a tripod that is on the traditional lure of pay and career advancement; a more recent focus on the wellbeing of employees with flexible hours and remote work; and now a commitment from the employer to address society’s greatest challenges. Employers have to set up every leg of this tripod if they want to attract and hold the activated worker. “
Purpose-driven companies also attract new business and government partners, offering opportunities for new mergers and academic partnerships, and NGO partners equally invested in the company’s success given their ambition to create a better world.
Social causes create trust, attract c -ital, and help companies cope in turbulent times. Companies that choose to advance their purpose also build trust, retention, culture and ultimately revenue by moving into the realm of long-term business success.
Societies with a social purpose have the ultimate goal of contributing to the common good; they have a social and / or ecological purpose as a reason for existence and implement this in everything they do. They set themselves conscious, strategic social goals in order to advance their purpose. If an organization’s social purpose is to protect the world’s forests, it has strategic goals related to forest protection. If an organization’s social purpose is to improve health and well-being, its strategic goals are tied to national health improvements. Purpose-driven companies set strategic goals that are aware of and serve the stated purpose.
In my experience, I help companies develop and implement a social purpose Institute for Social Purposes at United Way BC, most companies that have a social cause as their North Star have an ambition to turn their industry into a positive force too – even the small businesses. Many companies have an underlying purpose and set of values - but they haven’t formalized them. The aim is to bring their purpose to life and plan for the future. Once unleashed, these purpose-driven companies will mobilize entire sectors to contribute to a sustainable future and drive the purpose-driven economy.
Electric vehicles didn’t -pear on Canada’s roads overnight, but we are now seeing increased adoption – thanks to a concerted effort with a range of tools including government incentives and procurement, private sector investment, post-secondary education, production increases and rising consumer demand.
Turning the tide in the direction of a purpose-built economy requires the same multi-pronged -proach – and a driving effort on the part of business leaders to advocate authentic, purpose-built business as a force for good.
Released November 18, 2021 7:00 EST / 4:00 PST / 12:00 GMT / 13:00 CET