The Hefty Consequences of Lip Service!

It feels like we’re going through social good fever in Australia right now! That’s if you’ve been paying attention to the conference circuit lately. In the last few weeks we’ve had the Social Good Summit, the launch of Good Is The New Cool, the Queensland Social Enterprise Council just wrapped their Unconference, and this week Melbourne’s hosting the Social Innovation Summit

It seems timely that over in the Northern Hemisphere, the USA’s Business Roundtable (the association representing CEOs of America’s top companies) recently announced their new “statement on the purpose of a corporation”, seemingly peppered with the right lingo around a shift in focus to stakeholder value, social good and the role of business in society. It initially received some positive coverage from a few media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal. But then a healthy scepticism started rolling in from all over the place (cue me with popcorn in hand). For example, the B Corp movement quickly responded with an Op-Ed in Fast Company with the following headline:

“Don’t believe the Business Roundtable has changed until its CEOs’ actions match their words.”

Boom! My thoughts exactly. Of course, this shift in language does play an important role in moving away from a focus solely on profit maximization, but this public scrutiny is perfect proof that lip service is no longer enough.

Authenticity is the currency of this day and age! A purpose-driven marketing message or corporate values on a wall won’t cut it if the message is not executed in action. At Beneco Futures, this is what we’re most passionate about! We help companies walk the talk by putting purpose and social responsibility at their core – for example, through their operations or organisational capability. But don’t worry, we know change isn’t easy. We’re in it for the long game, together.

By Rosary Coloma

[Image credit: Left to right, Greg Kahn for The New York Times, Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters, Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press, Chester Higgins Jr/The New York Times, Patrick Semansky/Associated Press, Mike Cohen for The New York Times and Damon Winter/The New York Times.]