At the core of the most successful and attractive companies is a singular, authentic purpose that defines how it creates value.
Purpose directs business decisions that determine the way value is created and guides how the company engages its stakeholders. It also enables organisations to unify their staff and focus on a common goal.
When a company finds its purpose and embraces its authentic nature it can enhance its reputation, build trust and create value, not only for the business but also for society.
In most parts of the country, we don’t have an unemployment problem anymore. Our problem is a lack of good job opportunities for most Americans. While millions of jobs have been created since the Great Recession, the fastest job growth has occurred in places such as strip malls and fast food restaurants, where jobs provide people a means of subsistence but not an opportunity to achieve financial security and advance a career. Averaged across all occupations, real wages have not only remained stagnant but have dropped, building on a decades-long trend where workers and their families increasingly cannot afford the basic goods and services they need to get by.
I recently took part in a Sustainable Brands webinar with Fritjof Capra, in which we discussed how to introduce systems thinking and the systems view of life into organizations. After interviewing Fritjof in January, I invited him to take part in this webinar to explore the issues in more depth, an opportunity which would also allow participants to ask questions and contribute their thoughts and ideas as well.
News Deeply, in partnership with Sustainable Brands, has produced a series of profiles looking at how brands are tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges. The goal is to examine trends and gather insights from a new wave of corporate citizenship – in an era when the private sector is increasingly expected to play a positive role in improving our lives and societies. This is the 5th article in the series.
Johnson & Johnson (J&J), the world’s sixth-largest consumer health company, has released the results from their latest set of five-year goals and announced a new set for 2020. J&J’s Citizenship & Sustainability 2020 Goals represent a shift in how the company measures impact, increasing focus on material impacts as opposed to incremental reductions and year-over-year improvements. Through seven distinct goals with a combined 15 associated targets and metrics, the company aims to help make people and places healthier while creating an internal culture of health and wellbeing.
In 2015, Target wrapped up its five-year goals and built the foundation for the future of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practice, which is to make wellness a way of life; pursue sustainability for products and business operations; champion a more inclusive society; and invest and engage in their communities. Summarizing their progress and capturing important projects and milestones, Target’s 2015 Corporate Social Responsibility Report was released this week.
Since the industrial revolution, we have achieved great feats of economic, social and technological advancement for which we can be proud. The structures and strictures of old have served us well in many material ways. But times they are a changin’. We now face increasing volatility: enter the world of commodity spikes, resource scarcity, environmental destruction, social inequality, economic turbulence, population and migrant pressure, changing demographics, the internet of things, climate change, and more.
With the release of its latest sustainability report on June 30th, Kimberly-Clark proudly announced that it had achieved or surpassed all of its 5-year sustainability goals. In anticipation of the company’s 150th anniversary, Kimberly-Clark introduced a new set of sustainability priorities and goals through 2022.
The success of a community programme for your employees probably has more to do with branding than you first think. How can you activate purpose in employees and keep them engaged with your community programmes over the long term? Importantly, how can you create internal visibility about your programmes that withstands company change, especially in an uncertain post-Brexit world? Using examples from GSK and Patagonia we consider how their use of bold internal branding has allowed them to lead the way to creating employee programmes with that all-important ‘stickiness’ for the long term.
For the first time, data has shown a decoupling between revenue growth and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions output among the world’s 500 largest businesses (Global 500), according to a Thompson Reuters report released today. While as a group the companies are not yet reducing their emissions at a rate that follows the global scientific consensus on the risks of climate change, the slight improvement over the past five years offers a glimmer of hope.
Pick up any quote book or Google ‘inspirational memes’ and “Don’t be afraid to Fail” will most likely pop up in the first few pages. The idea of failure as the key to success is not a new one and yet the discussion around failure and real-life examples, particularly in the world of sustainability, is lacking.
Today, Dell unveiled the significant progress it has made against the 21 goals under its 2020 Legacy of Good Plan. Based on a baseline of its Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) performance, the company aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its facilities and logistics by 50 percent, ensure 100 percent of product packaging is sourced from sustainable materials and is either recyclable or compostable, identify and quantify the environmental benefits of IT-based solutions, and much more.
“If you want to get people engaged, inspire them - don’t require them ... The most lasting changes people make are the ones they make themselves.” — Daniel Alvarez, Pixar Animation Studios
Research increasingly shows that purpose-driven employees are more productive and more deeply engaged, as well as more satisfied at work.
Think back to when you were a child daydreaming about what you wanted to be as an adult. Did you imagine dancing across stages as a ballerina? Flying into space as an astronaut? When I was little, I daydreamed about becoming a best-selling author, just like my idols Beverly Cleary and Roald Dahl. Generally, children don’t daydream about their actual future careers - as accountants, operations managers, marketing executives or business leaders. I personally never daydreamed about becoming a communications consultant!
What makes these youthful daydreams about “when I grow up” different? They are purely purpose-focused. We imagine realizing our dreams – as performers or trailblazers – and in those imaginings, feel fulfilled.
In our previous post, on supporting your CEO, we discussed some tactics sustainability change agents can employ to help shape their CEO’s decision making on sustainability. We were also curious to know what these CEOs thought about the personal characteristics of effective change agents. One theme that emerged from our conversations with over 100 CEOs, board members, and sustainability executives from a range of global companies was knowing how to challenge your CEO while keeping your passion in check.
SB’16 San Diego kicked off strong with a morning workshop led by Kevin Wilhelm - CEO of Sustainable Business Consulting - and Kevin Hagen, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Iron Mountain. Together, they have created the Hagen-Wilhelm Matrix – a tool to help organizations not only identify what phase of sustainability they are in but how to advance their organization forward. This matrix moves away from linear sustainability phases offered by other models that map organizations’ sustainability journeys.
“Our goal is to make the intangible tangible, which is what we have to do with culture,” said Pamela Wilhelms, founder of Wilhelms Consulting Group, during a Monday workshop at SB'16 San Diego.
The workshop, “Understanding and Measuring Cultural and Systems-Change Dimensions within Companies,” focused on how forward-thinking companies can initiate cultural shifts toward sustainability — and how to measure success.
As the world moves toward a more sustainable economy, leading brands will be those capable of identifying and measuring healthy cultural dynamics. But culture often is too subjective and intangible to measure.
Two-thirds of U.S. employees feel their work and personal life are becoming increasingly blended and nearly all (93 percent) want to work for a company that cares about them as an individual, according to the 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study. The study reveals an increased expectation for companies to provide not only basic benefits but also ones that allow employees to bring their passions for social and environmental issues to the workplace.
Organizations across the globe are becoming increasingly focused on delivering sustainable products and services to their customer base as a way to limit their environmental footprint and to create a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Though these are good policies, truly sustainable business is not simply an external matter, in the sense of producing and delivering responsibly produced offerings to markets. It is also very much an internal matter, in the sense of encouraging sustainable behaviour within the organization.
In 1997, biologist Janine Benyus popularized the term “biomimicry,” with her groundbreaking book of the same name, and spearheaded the growth of the discipline dedicated to applying Nature’s designs and processes to create a healthier, more sustainable world. I recently spoke with Janine about some of her favorite biomimetic innovations, about asking more from our design interventions, and some of the yet untapped areas in which Nature’s genius could help solve our most intractable problems.