Why ‘business with purpose’ has to be the mantra for the future
If there was ever an age in which it was acceptable for businesses simply to make money it has long since passed. Societal expectations are constantly evolving and businesses need to have a clear purpose and to demonstrate what they contribute over and above a healthy profit stream.
To put it another way, profit should be seen as the out-turn from endeavour not the purpose of it.
Why? Our planet is facing complex and unprecedented challenges and as consumers of products and services we need businesses to help address these problems.
I am immensely fortunate to work for a company that not only has a clear purpose (“we enable our clients to be better investors”) but that also has the ability and a desire to bring about positive change through how it invests on behalf of its clients.
I also speak from first-hand experience in saying that our clients have never been more interested in how their long-term savings and pensions are being invested. Yes, investment returns are important but they also want reassurance that we are investing their money in ways which will make the world a better place, not only for them but for future generations.
It is for this reason I was both delighted and honoured to join the Business Purpose Commission for Scotland to raise awareness of the benefits and importance of introducing purpose into how all businesses think and operate.
No business can operate in a vacuum; it needs to work with governments, policymakers, regulators and other stakeholders to deliver sustainable growth that benefits the broadest cross-section of society.
We will always have to contend with external factors beyond our control – you only need to look at recent global events to see that – but successful businesses need to work through these challenges to and ‘do the right thing’ for employees, customers, shareholders, suppliers and the communities in which they operate.
Nobody, myself included, wants to buy products or services that are simply adding to the world’s problems. It is the duty of a purposeful business to ensure it is doing everything possible to build a stronger and more sustainable future for all.