“The purpose of a corporation must be redefined around creating shared value… Companies must take the lead in bringing business and society back together.”–Michael Porter, Mike Kramer, Harvard Business Review
Corporate Social Responsibility is no longer about just about charity and philanthropy. There is an increasing demand for the concept of sharing value. In this year’s Trust Barometer, we found that it has never been more important to communicate the alignment of your business’ profit motive and mission/purpose with the needs of society at large.
Three-quarters of informed Australians believe corporations need to operate in a way that aligns with society’s interests. Interestingly, only slightly more than half believe a business’ primary social responsibility is to increase profits.
We discovered many are looking to businesses to lead by addressing societal needs. There is now an appreciation, if not an expectation, that companies benefit by looking out for the needs of others; ninety-four percent believe companies will benefit in the short-term, long-term or both by operating in ways that benefit society.
The research highlights the importance for companies to articulate its strategy for aligning how profits are driven from purpose, making certain that key stakeholders understand that strategy and the company’s commitment and motivations.
If companies won’t take the lead in bringing business and society back together, Australians support regulation to ensure this happens. The Trust Barometer also revealed that 73 percent of Australian opinion influencers support government regulation of corporate activity to ensure business is behaving ethically and responsibly.
In addition to fostering and advocating for a culture that values and lives with purpose, companies can and should take advantage of these findings by demonstrating responsible practices and validating them by listening, participating in the conversation (where and when it happens) and partnering with strategic stakeholders to create shared value.
- Kate Ferguson
To read more about the Edelman Trust Barometer click here.