The State of Shared Value in Australia Survey was released last week, and given that we're in planning mode for our first ever Wildwon event about purpose-driven business, it proved to be very interesting reading.
We've always described ourselves as a purpose-led business - but we know this way of operating is fast catching on. There is a growing movement of small businesses, large companies and international corporates who put a social good mission at the centre of what they do. Whether that’s by becoming a B Corp, by being involved with the Conscious Capitalism movement, by embedding Shared Value principles into corporate strategy - or a small business refusing to compromise their values for the sake of making a sale. This movement doesn’t discriminate - there’s room for everyone.
According to this latest report, there are a bunch of businesses living Shared Value principles, who don’t even know they are. Purpose-driven business is close to becoming business as usual, rather than a point of difference.
We’re also seeing many companies expanding their Shared Value mandate beyond typical “marketing friendly” initiatives, to start having an impact on broader societal issues with many causes - the wicked problems the corporate sector has long avoided or outright denied. This is great news.
But we’re not there yet. There is still resistance to implementing Shared Value thinking organisation wide - especially if it is perceived to be at odds with broader corporate strategy - which, let’s face it, is making money. Perhaps the only way we’ll overcome this is by changing regulations and pushing businesses to report on environmental and social impact, as well as financial gains. (There are already big moves being made on this front - and no doubt more change to come. Watch this space.)
Let’s be honest - social impact as we think about it now is still a relatively young field. It is still tricky to measure and quantify social impact, and therefore difficult to factor it in to business decision making alongside bottom line reporting.
But the good news is, many companies are committed to trying anyway. And those who are persisting are reaping the benefits - in terms of impact, financial returns, and positive brand associations.
The more active and vocal we become as consumers, the bigger the market for ethical and sustainable goods and services grows, the closer links we have to the businesses we choose to patronise, and the more open and transparent the business community becomes, the greater the imperative to become a purpose-driven business becomes.
In so many ways we’re just at the start of this journey. And that’s what’s so exciting about this - because we’ve already come so far, and the movement really seems to be gathering steam.
Sure enough, the days of the old fashioned solely bottom line focused business is numbered, because there is a whole generation of companies who do what they do, but they do it better - by putting people and planet at the centre of their operations, and often making more money in the process!
Wildwon is thrilled to be a part of it. More please!
Are you a purpose-led business? We’d love to hear about what you do and how you’re making a difference in your work. Would you like to learn more about how to be a part of the purpose economy and part of Purpose 2015? Leave us a comment below or get in touch.