With thanks to Shaparency, Red Nilsson and Mark Pfister for the opportunity to speak on this important subject….

As I speak with executive teams and boards I find many feel like they’re being backed into a corner to “do good” – even when they are focused on doing what’s right. I’m lucky to have met very few business leaders who wake up and choose to cause harm. Yet, at the same time, most struggle to see activities associated with doing good as an opportunity for value creation. As brands are confronted with an increasingly long list of social and environmental challenges and being called out more quickly for greenwashing, I believe exploring whether doing good is an obligation – a cost of doing business – or an investment opportunity is important.

As I wrote in Do Good, for decades, corporate efforts to fund social and environmental programs were considered, at best, public relations campaigns designed to boost brand reputation and, at worst, a way to right wrongs. They were part of a zero-sum game in which companies’ positive efforts simply offset their negative behavior. As people’s expectations for business are changing, the old model of the zero sum game must be transformed: business and society are a two-way compact.

Today, leaders across the globe recognize that business has a duty of care to provide for all stakeholders, not only return a profit to shareholders. And more and more are coming to terms with the notion that our definition of stakeholders must expand to include society and the environment. Yet what this means in practical terms is still being played out. Rather than conceiving of new models most companies are still operating in old ways and simply bolting new teams on to existing departments.

Watch the conversation to learn more….