At a Discovery Event on finding purpose through social innovation, Professor Vanina Farber engaged participants to explore the challenges and opportunities that their organizations face as global trends increasingly require companies to examine their impact, both socially and environmentally.
How can companies create a positive social and environmental impact, as well as conserve and replenish the Earth’s natural resources … and still make money while doing so? This is a question that companies are increasingly asking themselves, as both internal and external forces exert pressure on them to demonstrate a wider impact on, and value to, society.
Why should companies care about their impact on society? Today, organizations face a world of radical digital transparency where corporate behavior is instantaneously tracked and scrutinized globally, across the entire value chain. Additionally, social media empowers consumers to directly engage companies, which younger generations, like Millennials and Gen Z, are embracing as a tool to enact social and corporate change. Companies are also facing increasing pressure from their internal stakeholders. Shareholders, such as the world’s largest asset manager Blackrock, are demanding that portfolio companies become more purpose driven. Research indicates that employees identify working with a purpose as one of their top three priorities when evaluating which company to work for. There is also a compelling business case for purpose-driven companies. Facing a commodification of brands, a purpose-driven approach can help companies differentiate themselves from their competitors.