In recent weeks, the Business Roundtable’s updated statement on the purpose of a corporation has put a charge through the business and non-profit communities. If you missed it, the Roundtable announced in August that each of its companies have committed to:
- Delivering value to their customers
- Investing in their employees
- Dealing fairly and ethically with their suppliers
- Supporting the communities in which they work
- Generating long-term value for shareholders
Historically, the Roundtable held a more shareholder-focused view of business. While the organization still recognizes that profits are critical to a company’s success, its leaders increasingly appreciate that success runs deeper.
Their statement reminds me of PepsiCo’s ‘Performance with Purpose.’ First introduced in 2006 by former CEO Indra Nooyi, Performance with Purpose committed PepsiCo to delivering “top-tier performance while being responsive to the needs of the more than 200 countries and territories” the company serves around the world.
In other words: the strength of the company should be leveraged for the strength of its communities.
In the wake of the Business Roundtable’s August announcement, United Way and many other non-profits hailed the group’s shift. At United Way, we’ve been beating this drum for years, and today more and more people are realizing that businesses need a wider definition of success.
Much of the Roundtable’s shift can be traced to what business leaders see happening across our society. We have profound challenges, such as increasing inequality, rising migration rates and weak trust in institutions. Cross-sector approaches are the only approaches that can deliver scalable and sustained solutions to these challenges. More than ever, we need all sectors to pitch in.
Forty-eight members of the Business Roundtable are among United Way’s Global Corporate leaders. They support our work and encourage their employees to volunteer and lend their expertise in the community. Yet as more companies define community support as part of their core purpose, they will increasingly build community strengthening into their products, supply chains, long-term plans and more.
We are only as strong as the communities in which we live and work. As people demand more from business and companies increasingly realize their important role in developing solutions, we all stand to benefit.
#SharedPurpose #LiveUnited #communities