Blogs & Comment

What's the social purpose of your business?

What’s the fundamental question at the core of capitalism? “The question of how you have the right sort of performance with integrity,” said Ben W. Heinman, former General Counsel for GE and Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
I think of performance with integrity in terms of the “social purpose” of corporations – a concept that has three key ingredients:
1. Return on Integrity: Telling the truth and being transparent, establishing an “ethical balance sheet”, and ensuring accountability among directors and executives through good governance.
2. Responsible Products and Services: Ensuring that what you make or do has as small an impact on the environment as is possible, choosing suppliers whose operations align with your environmental and social priorities, and marketing what you do in a way that isn’t manipulative – especially among children or others that may be easily influenced.
3. Social Impact: Aligning with social issues and social organizations that resonate with who your company is and what is does, demonstrating the social outcomes of your investments in the community, and understanding and addressing the needs of your employees.
Have you defined and operationalized the social purpose of your business?