Corporate Purpose Impact 2010
Once upon a time, many companies believed that the way to manage their imprint on communities and the environment was to sponsor a ‘CSR project’. These initiatives were often launched simply to assuage corporate guilt, or to deflect criticism and “prove” a commitment to society.
As public cynicism towards this approach began to grow over the past 15 years, some of these same companies began to think and talk about ‘Corporate Responsibility’ instead. They started to interact more with their stakeholders, including NGOs – and a few made real commitments to incorporate Corporate Responsibility into their business strategies.
The move from CSR to Corporate Responsibility also meant shifting from simply carrying out activities that could be communicated externally, to incorporating new business principles that would be the drivers of internal action, motivation and recruitment.
One of the results of the global economic and financial turmoil since 2008 is that more companies and business sectors have been forced to look inwards rather than outwards, to examine their raison d’etre and to understand Corporate Responsibility in greater depth. Gen Y, new ethical consumers and investors, the growing power of NGOs and of course the internet, have all amplified this new trend. As a result, there is a renewed public demand for corporations to act more responsibly in the societies in which they operate.
The answer to this call to action lies within a company’s ‘Purpose’. Companies that seek to build trust and engage honestly and transparently with their employees, customers, shareholders, regulators, the media and other audiences need to have a welldefined Purpose – and to abide by it in everything they do. Purpose is part of a company’s DNA; it is the reason for that company’s existence.
View the BM Corporate Impact Purpose (slideshow)