CSR and Sustainability

If your business has no purpose beyond money, it won't last

Authenticity is everything. It really is. 

We’ve all heard people, including me, claim this before. Purpose – and authenticity – is everything.

It’s also true that many purpose-driven companies have gone bust and disappeared, alongside those who only cared for cash.

But we are at the stage today when having a purpose that is only about money is fast becoming unsustainable.

The leaked IPCC report, which makes bleak reading so far, only enforces this.

Big brands such as Kellogg and traders such as Wilmar, have made significant announcements related to sustainable business in recent months.

They are not alone. Many have gone before, many will follow, and the pace of change, pressure and yes, even regulation, will accelerate in years to come. That’s plain to see. Put most big brand names into Google news and see the results for yourself.

Pressure, and expectations, are mounting.

Which makes purpose all the more important.

Your company purpose doesn’t have to be to save the planet.

But it does have to show you want to make your own contribution to doing so.

I met a senior consultant recently who is convinced Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan is not just about sustainability per se.

It’s also, he told me, the one unifying factor that everyone in the business can get behind, beyond just flogging more soap or selling better mayonnaise. It’s the only cultural change trigger that could have worked.

So there’s your twofold business case:

First, the world expects you to care about more than profit.

Second, doing so is probably the only way to create that positive company culture your CEO craves so desperately. 

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