Be Proud of Your Purpose

Why Australians shouldn’t be such a humble bunch

People with purpose usually lead meaningful lives. Organisations with purpose usually succeed. Countries with purpose usually have better living standards and are more resilient.

While Australian businesses have much to be proud of, including global leaders and entrepreneurial initiatives, not enough organisations tell the world about their social impact work.

Today, it is our moral and societal obligation to communicate with others the good that is being done to motivate others to do the same.

A recent study[1] found that 52% of consumers will assume a company is not acting responsibly until they hear information otherwise. This is particularly true among millennial's who have high expectations on corporations making a difference.

Business leaders need to communicate clearly the good they are doing and take stances on social matters that resonate with their company values.

Historically, companies discussing social responsibility came with objections that the sole purpose of business is to maximise profits, and that business leaders have no business speaking out on social issues.

But times are changing.

Companies who want to build productive and sustainable businesses need to connect with their employees, customers, shareholders and society. In order to create this connection, business leaders must engage with issues that matter such as climate change, income inequality, homelessness, indigenous disadvantage and marriage equality.

Words are easy but actions are what matters.

In order to gain credibility, companies must act beyond well-worded mission statements. Companies risk heavy backlash if they choose to adopt a social license rhetoric while behaving in ways that support unethical businesses.

Action is needed, particularly when addressing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals including:

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While Australia is addressing some sustainability issues much more needs to be done.

As recently stated by Mr. Fink, CEO of Blackrock, one of the world’s largest asset managers, in a letter addressed to his stakeholders: “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.”

Business leaders must act now to ensure Australia fosters a purposeful and competitive business community, as well as a clear, shared vision of what an Australia with purpose would look like.

[1] Cone/Porter Novelli (2018) Purpose Study. Retrieved from: http://www.conecomm.com/2018-purpose-study-pdf/

Tom Murray