Business for Purpose Network (B4PN) Weekly Announcements #40 to #45

AllysonHewitt
18 min readNov 17, 2021

These are the back issues of the B4PN Weekly Announcements, from September 3, 2021 to October 8, 2021. To subscribe to these weekly announcements, please contact ahewitt@marsdd.com or view the posts on my LinkedIn.

Weekly Announcement #40. September 3, 2021. Compiled by Marek Nakonieczny / Associate, MaRS Discovery District

#ONE — Lessons from EntrepreneursWe’ll start this week’s announcement with a new World Economic Forum article that enlisted 14 of the WEF’s Technology Pioneers to provide advice for entrepreneurs on turning ideas into successful start-ups. The first two lessons? The importance of starting with purpose and business’ ability to be a force for good. It is uplifting to see these beliefs continue to make their way into the mainstream — hopefully indicative that purpose is not only a trend but a guiding business principle that is here to stay.

#TWO — Upcoming Event:
Purposeful Business in Policy, Practice and Business Education.
Please register here for a September 22–24 Purpose Summit and Report Launch of the British Academy’s third and final report of the Future of the Corporation programme. The summit will launch the report on Purposeful Business in Policy, Practice and Business Education, and include a series of discussions on “adapting business education to purpose.” We have highlighted previous reports from the programme and look forward to hearing conclusions on “the role of policy, practice, and business education in firmly embedding purpose in the way business operates.” Registration will provide updates on the full lineup of events as well as recordings if you can’t attend. Thanks to our colleague Coro Strandberg for sharing.

#THREE — Can Purpose and Profit Co-exist?

New research published in the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance by Fortuna Advisors finds that “‘High Purpose’ companies delivered significant outperformance across a broad range of financial, valuation, and value creation metrics; and that the performance gap expanded materially as both consumers and investors flocked to purpose-led companies during the COVID-19 crisis.” The research, based on consumer perceptions of purpose, showed that “high purpose” companies had “14.1% greater revenue growth, 6.2x turns higher TEV/EBITDA valuation multiple, and 34.7% greater annualized total shareholder return” than those scoring low on purpose. Encouraging data that suggests purpose companies can create value and impact for not only stakeholders, but shareholders as well. Thanks again to Coro for highlighting this publication.

#FOUR — Social Purpose in Business: A Virtual Workshop

Our friends at the Social Purpose Institute are hosting an all-encompassing workshop on Social Purpose October 7, 2021, 10 to 11 AM PST. Please register here for a session that “will equip you for success through a mix of how-to guidance and real-life experience from senior leaders who’ve activated their Social Purpose — and are experiencing the benefits.” Attendees will receive a discount for the SPI’s Propelling Purpose Summit set to take place November 17–18, 2021.

#FIVE — Short Video: Deloitte’s Chief Purpose Officer on Purpose

To wrap up this week’s edition, take a look at this short video interview by Harvard Business Review with Kwasi Mitchell, Deloitte’s Chief Purpose Officer. You may recall our July 30, 2021 Weekly Announcement where we shared an AXIOS article that introduced Kwasi Mitchell and the idea of a Chief Purpose Officer. Tune in to the short watch to hear more on “how to integrate and activate purpose in your own organization.”

quote of the week “I think for anyone who is in the private sector, they see that there are more and more demands from investors to truly be focused on purpose and be activating substantially across all of their stakeholders rather than their shareholders only.” – Kwasi Mitchell, HBR, August 31, 2021.

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Weekly Announcement #41. September 10, 2021

#ONE — Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation (CCPC)

Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation (CCPC) is an initiative to equip Canadian businesses with insights, tools, and support as they work to redefine and strengthen the scope of their purpose and the contribution they make more broadly to society. The latest, proprietary research from the Centre indicates:

“The vast majority of Canadians (83%) believe ‘businesses and corporations play a vital role in the economy by creating jobs, fostering innovation and providing essential goods and services.’

Still, the majority agree governments need to get tougher with businesses and corporations through laws, regulations and taxes with regards to overcoming climate change (72% agree), addressing inequalities/wealth and income gaps (68% agree), and addressing treatment inequities (63% agree).”

You are invited to sign up for the Centre’s bi-weekly publication here, and learn more about the Centre here.

B4PN Founding Member: Brian Gallant, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation

#TWO — Social Purpose Institute (SPI)

Social Purpose Institute (SPI) exists to grow business for good, partnering with companies and collaborating with governments, allied organizations, and others to grow the Social Purpose Business movement. SPI achieves this in several ways. They help businesses define and implement their social purpose to drive both business growth and societal good. They champion a Purpose Economy, accelerating the new business ethic to create long-term well-being for all. They are thought leaders, creating and curating insights and knowledge to define the transition pathway to the Purpose Economy. They convene the social purpose ecosystem — the partners and actors needed to bring social purpose to life in communities across Canada.

For more information, visit them at www.socialpurpose.ca

The B4PN is closely collaborating with the SPI to bring you Canada’s first Social Purpose Summit called Propelling Purpose Summit 2021: The Road to the Purposeful Economy. The event will be held on November 17 and 18, 2021 as part of “Purpose Week” (more to come on that). The SPI is pleased to offer B4PN Weekly Announcement readers a discount of 15% by offering the code PAN-21 when you register here. We will be profiling updates on what you can expect from the summit in subsequent Weekly Announcements and we encourage you to share this important event with your stakeholders.

B4PN Founding Member: Mary Ellen Schaafsma, Director, Social Purpose Institute, United Way British Columbia

#THREE — Realized Worth Institute

The RW Institute (RWI) is solving the unsolvable problems facing corporate citizenship — the most intractable, systemic problems. They are creating a powerful movement of stakeholders working together around the world, asking and answering questions bigger than any one company, organization, or issue.

RWI brings together concerned parties, organizations, and companies to better develop, coordinate, and leverage the private sector’s contribution to positive social and environmental change. Through networking opportunities, learning and development programs, innovative research, and thought leadership RWI enhances corporate citizenship efforts and connects key change-makers to like-minded leaders around the world.

Subscribe to RW Institute updates here.

B4PN Founding Member: Chris Jarvis, Executive Director, RW Institute

#FOUR — Imagine Canada & Caring Companies

Imagine Canada offers programs and resources to strengthen charities, promote corporate giving, and support the charitable sector.

Their Caring Companies program, first launched in 1988 (way ahead of the curve) offers a Trustmark as Canada’s premier public expression of excellence in community investment and social responsibility.

You are invited to join a community of leaders who are setting the standard for corporate philanthropy in Canada.

And check out their research on corporate/nonprofit partnerships such as From Crisis to Opportunity. Case Studies of Corporate Nonprofit Partnerships During COVID-19.

B4PN Founding Member: Bruce MacDonald, President & CEO, Imagine Canada

#FIVE — MaRS Discovery District: Corporate Innovation

The Purpose of MaRS is to help innovators create a better world. To that end MaRS Corporate Innovation connects global organizations with Canada’s most promising tech companies. They help corporations adopt emerging technologies that can advance strategic priorities and build organizations’ resilience. They do this by providing exclusive corporate programming in the form of curated venture introductions, innovation training, detailed reports and newsletters, live events, and marketing support. The mission is to support the commercialization of Canadian tech products to transform corporations, support startups, and scale the innovation and climate economies.

MaRS brings together innovation and impact.

Find out more about Corporate Innovation at MaRS here and sign up for the MaRS newsletter here.

B4PN Founding Member: Allyson Hewitt, VP Impact, MaRS Discovery District

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Weekly Announcement #42. September 17, 2021

#ONE — Questioning the Impact of Corporate Purpose

Impact Statement. Who’s social responsibility is it anyway? By Dan Dunsky, Literary Review of Canada. Dan questions the actual impact of his work at a “hybrid consultancy” coming to the conclusion that “Despite all the good intentions, I came to believe that corporate social impact will end up doing more harm than good.” His article concludes by suggesting where we should focus … “instead channel the desire for change into the political system” where it belongs.

So what do you think? Have you become disillusioned with the state of corporate social purpose (or impact)? Is this election really the place we should be focusing our attention? Please reach out — contact info at the end of the WA — we’d really like to hear what you have to say on this matter. Thanks to Tim Draimin, B4PN Emeritus Advisor, for this article.

#TWO — Building the Evidence Base for Purpose

Monitor Deloitte recently published The purpose premium: why a purpose-driven strategy is good for business, a paper that provides an abundance of the most up to date evidence in support of the business case for purpose. They conclude that there is a “strong connection between purpose and business value,” and share some eye-opening metrics tying the benefits of purpose to market valuation, brand reputation, talent retention, and more, along the way. High-purpose brands have “4x higher EBITDA valuations, are 6x more likely to be protected in the face of negative publicity, and have better chances of attracting the ~80% of people who would prefer to work for a purpose-driven company.” In addition to sharing the research, it ends with an immediate recommendation for stakeholders who want to advance purpose in business: “develop and adopt a consistent methodology to rank and analyze companies’ comparative financial performance tied to purpose.” Thanks to Mike Rowlands, President and CEO, Junxion for sharing.

#THREE — Purpose in Business Week

As mentioned in our last B4PN Weekly Announcement, we would be thrilled if you could join us in celebrating the first-ever #PurposeinBusinessWeek (note the hashtag) to be held November 15–19, 2021. This is an exciting window to declare your organization’s commitment to social purpose business and the Purpose Economy — and help mainstream this concept in business. Examples include: white paper/research release on some aspect of Purpose; new Purpose initiative; new commitment, policy, or activity; new Purpose partnership; or simply a declaration of support for Purpose in Business. If you plan to make an announcement or issue a statement during these 5 days, and we certainly hope you do, please reach out to our friends at the Social Purpose Institute at (engage@socialpurpose.ca) and collectively we will help amplify your work. Thanks to Mary Ellen Schaafsma, Director, Social Purpose Institute at the United Way in British Columbia, for her leadership on this file

#FOUR — Fixing Capitalism

At the Conference of Montreal, The International Economic Forum of the Americas held September 13–16, 2021, there were several great sessions of interest to the Business for Purpose community.

In one session entitled Fixing Capitalism, Manny Maceda, Global CEO, Bain & Company indicated we must engage the other 98% of the business to take on purpose in addition to the current 2%. He also offered an honest reflection on what that means for CEOs, to become “pundits on civic issues”, when that was not the job they signed up for.

There was significant discussion, led by Jonas Prising, Chairman and CEO of ManpowerGroup, on the new focus on the S in ESG discussions but that the lack of unifying metrics in this area are a deterrent to progress.

And Amy Weaver, President and CFO of Salesforce encouraged us to see the opportunities provided post COVID to work and live better lives.

#FIVE — British Academy’s Future of the Corporation Programme

An update on The British Academy’s third and final report launch: Policy and Practice for Purposeful Business is set to take place September 22, 2021 from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm BST. If you are interested in changes to Adapting Business Education to Purpose you will also want to register here to avail of these additional sessions that round out the report launch and summit:

· How can the professions integrate purposeful business into qualifications and practice? September 23–11:00 am to 12:00 pm BST

· How can universities integrate purposeful business into teaching and the student experience? September 23–3:00 pm to 4:00 pm BST

· How can business schools integrate purposeful business into teaching and research? September 24–11:00 am to 12:00 pm BST

· How can the tech sector apply purposeful business?
September 23 4:30 pm — 5 pm BST

quote of the week

“25% of financing projects are refused as not being aligned to our ESG principles.” – Guy Cormier, President & CEO, Desjardins. Conference of Montreal session on Building Shared Prosperity. September 13, 2021.

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Weekly Announcement #43. September 24, 2021

#ONE — CEO Priorities for the next normal

As we transition back to our offices, many of us are thinking about ‘the next normal’ but are overwhelmed with where to focus. McKinsey & Company offer these priorities on What matters most? Five priorities for CEOs in the next normal. September 8, 2021. Interactive. The fifth priority recommends CEO’s “operate with purpose.”

1. Center strategy on sustainability; 2. Transform in the cloud; 3. Cultivate your talent; 4. Press the need for speed; and 5. Operate with purpose. “Employees want to work at places that have a sense of purpose — and will leave if they don’t find it. Companies that execute with purpose are more likely to generate long-term value. And people expect business to do more than make money for shareholders — although that is essential.” Recommended articles (also highlighted in previous B4PN Weekly Announcements):

· The case for stakeholder capitalism

· Help your employees find purpose — or watch them leave

· More than a mission statement: How the 5Ps embed purpose to deliver value

#TWO — The Belief-Driven Employee

“There is a new compact between employee and employer which requires business to take a more ambitious role in society, while fundamentally reconsidering the motives of the worker.” The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: The Belief-Driven Employee, conducted in early August in seven countries, finds that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed values, so that higher wages are no longer a sufficient incentive to work longer and harder. “The Employee Value Proposition (EVP) now looks like a tripod, balanced on the traditional enticements of pay and career advancement, a newer focus on employee well-being, with flexible hours and remote work, and now an employer commitment to act for good on society’s biggest challenges. Employers must stand up every leg of this tripod if they want to win and retain the activated employee.” Thanks to Coro Strandberg, Strandberg Consulting and B4PN Founding Member, for this article.

#THREE — The Great Reprioritization

A field as emergent as ‘business on purpose’ will have people offering different perspectives on what they are seeing in this space. Scott Dunst, Management Professor and Chief Research Officer at a tech venture, offers a rethink in Fast Company, September 10, 2021, on the highly promoted (including in these Weekly Announcements) Great Resignation entitled: It’s not the ‘Great Resignation’ but the ‘Great Reprioritization’.

Professor Dunst indicates in this research that “social impact,” or “you don’t connect with the value that your organization is offering to customers or society at large” is one of the reasons that is least likely to cause an employee to spur a job search. OK, to our researcher friends — let us know what you think! Thanks to Alex Ryan, SVP, Partner Solutions at MaRS for this submission.

#FOUR — Built for Better: Shopping with Purpose

As a consumer it is often difficult to determine what products are actually better for people and the planet. With their stated purpose to “help people live better lives’ Walmart Launches ‘Built for Better’ To Help Customers Shop With Purpose. September 21, 2021. CSRWire.

For more information on this program, check out Live Better Tomorrow. And whether or not you shop at Walmart, there is no denying their reach — “Each week, nearly 230 million customers and members visit approximately 10,800 stores and clubs under 51 banners in 25 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2021 revenue of $559 billion, Walmart employs over 2.2 million associates worldwide.”

#FIVE — #PurposeinBusinessWeek November 15 to 19, 2021

We hope you will all promote #BusinessinPurposeWeek by highlighting events or announcements that you plan to host or make during that week — please let us know your plans and don’t forget to use this hashtag. Our focus will be on promoting the Propelling Purpose Summit, for example, check out this brief video by Phil Preston, founder of The Business Purpose Project and the author of Connecting Profit with Purpose, who is based in Australia. Phil will be hosting the International Office Hours session at the Summit. See you there!

quote of the week

Based on our research, Canadians want a more equitable, inclusive, and environmentally sustainable economic system and see government bringing down the hammer on businesses as a necessity in order for that to become a reality.

– Brian Gallant, CEO, Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation & B4PN Founding Member

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Weekly Announcement #44. September 30, 2021

#ONE — Call to Action #92

Recommendation #92 asks the corporate sector and their leadership to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The commission calls for meaningful consultation, long-term sustainable opportunities from economic development projects as well as education and training for management and staff on the history of Indigenous people, intercultural competency, human rights, and anti-racism.

MaRS CEO, Yung Wu, helped found CILAR, the Coalition of Innovation Leaders Against Racism and in partnership with CIIT, the Centre for Indigenous Innovation and Technology. Together they are “calling upon the innovation sector in Canada to adopt and meaningfully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework for learning and action and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate and Indigenous inclusion and equity policies and core operational activities involving Indigenous Peoples and their immense contributions to and leadership in the innovation economy.” Please read the full statement here.

#TWO — Social Purpose Assessment

On behalf of the Social Purpose Institute (SPI), Lead Advisor, Coro Strandberg has developed a Social Purpose Assessment to help companies measure the degree to which their company has a compelling purpose. It includes 25 practices across seven practice areas. Let us know what you think and don’t forget to follow Coro on LinkedIn for lots more great tools, resources and insights including the highly recommended “Closing the Loop!” podcast hosted by Return-It on what the purpose economy, diversity and circular business have in common.

And while you are at it, don’t forget to sign up for these upcoming SPI hosted events:

· How to drive an authentic social purpose company, avoid purpose-washing and drive a purpose economy. October 4, 2021 at 1 pm PST/ 4 pm EST FREE

· Social purpose: what is it? Why do I need one? How do I get one? October 7, 2021 at 10 am PST/1 pm EST. $32.84 and of course …

· Propelling purpose: the road to the purposeful economy. November 17–18, 2021. The cost is $225 but B4PN WA readers can claim a 15% discount by using code PAN-21

#THREE — Is Government the only answer to enacting the Social Responsibility of Business?

While it has been 51 years since that seminal article by Milton Friedman in the New York Times, others, such as former US secretary of labor, Robert Reich hold fast to his teachings outlining “Why corporate social responsibility is BS”. The Guardian. September 26, 2021. Like many critics in this space, Reich advocates for a stronger role for government in both policy and enforcement.

And for a bit of hope: the American Sustainable Business Council is urging its members to support Biden’s investments to build back better. They have prepared this Social Media Kit and so far these 300 companies have signed on.

Thanks to Tim Draimin, B4PN Emeritus Advisor, for this article and keeping us grounded in the opposition to this movement of business for purpose.

#FOUR — Recorded Event: Getting to Deeper NFP / Corporate Partnerships

This is a recording of an event by B4PN founding member, Imagine Canada and Consulting Agency Accelerist on “Moving From Transactional to Transformational Partnerships”. It features TD and Ronald McDonald House as they focus on best-in-class practices in moving from one-off engagement between nonprofits and corporates to more multilayered engagements. Given that cross-sectoral partnerships are one way to realize your organization’s purpose, you may find this of interest. The session’s slides can be found here. They feature (5) of the top trends they are dealing with in “accelerating into purpose partnerships.”

#FIVE — Governance

Diligent Insights has developed a “Building a Purpose-Driven Organization Kit” which you can download here. It contains three complete guides: Governance Outlook 2022, The Future of GRC; Create Value by Bringing Risk, Audit & Compliance into the Boardroom, and A Buyer’s Guide to ESG Data Management Software.

quote of the week

As we’re building this new economy, do think with your boards and your leadership teams about transitioning from the old, linear, profit centred business model, to something that’s a purpose-driven model, that’s circular, that’s low-carbon, that’s equitable, and that’s decolonized.

– Coro Strandberg, President, Strandberg Consulting, Closing the Loop! Podcast, September 27, 2021

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Weekly Announcement #45. October 8, 2021

#ONE — Linking Sustainability Standards and Purpose

In his latest (October 7, 2021) article in Quartz, Dan Osusky, Head of Standards and Insights, B Lab makes clear and concise arguments that “two key problems will keep sustainability reporting from changing the world” — the purpose problem and the evaluation problem.

For Osusky, this means (among other things), “rethinking the fundamental purpose of corporations and our economic system to align it with the spirit of sustainability reporting and the world we want to achieve.”

#TWO — Global Forum focused on Leadership

The Great Leadership ResetThe 5th Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. November 19 to 28. Registration is free (with premium access at a fee, an interesting business model in the virtual-first world). Hosted by Berrett-Koehler Publishers and Case Western Reserve University. Great lineup of speakers focusing on how business can meet the biggest global challenges of the 21st Century. Thanks to Coro Strandberg for the suggestion.

#THREE — Mariana Mazzucato brings her expertise to BC

In her latest book, Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism, Mazzucato argues that capitalism is stuck: “governments and other public sector institutions must play a critical role-in partnership with the private sector and engaged citizens-in leading missions to tackle the grand challenges of our times.” As we reported in a previous B4PN Weekly Announcement (#31 — July 2, 2021), Professor Mazzucato and her team at UCL’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) have been hired by the Government of British Columbia to advise on a long-term economic plan that will steer the province through the post-pandemic era.

Register here for a free online conversation with Professor Mazzucato hosted by Simon Fraser University as she discusses Value, Innovation and Moonshots: What’s possible for BC’s future? Tuesday October 20, 2021–8:30 am to 10:00 am PDT/11:30 am to 1:00 pm EDT.

#FOUR — Reflection on the “opposition” to Business on Purpose — Guest Op Ed

In our last edition (#44 — September 30, 2021) we featured an article by Robert Reich provocatively entitled “Why corporate social responsibility is BS” as we believe it is important to surface a range of voices on the purpose of the corporation. This article was submitted by B4PN Advisor Emeritus Tim Draimin who suggests we be careful about how we position these types of articles. Thanks Tim, thoughtful as always — what do you think?

“While I realize that Reich is being very feisty (and journalistically good click-bait) in how he excoriates corporates, I wonder if it would make sense to avoid a general framing of these types of corporate critiques as being “the opposition”?

I offer this interrogative in order for us to explore whether we couldn’t have an alternative framing that leaves the door more open to recognize the need for a synergistic, two-track approach to social change involving corporate market players?

Certainly government regulation is key.

There is often the issue that the better motivated (purposeful) corporates will have social and environmental guardrails shaped by their values and protected by benefit legislation.

And other corporates will intentionally seek the most profitable means to execute on their business model.

Overtime it will be necessary to establish a level playing field, favouring upper convergence of much better practices. Regulations do accomplish that.

At the same time, the entire corporate purpose movement is an essential part of the calculus of positive social change. It is injecting, shaping, advancing public discussion, discernment and deliberation that creates more propitious conditions for the required policy and regulatory shifts. It does this at the same time that it works on its internal, corporate practice.

I’m suggesting we try to illuminate the synergy between the approaches of purpose and policy instead of eulogizing or hyperinflating their opposition.”

#FIVE — Reminder: Register for the Propelling Purpose Summit 2021

Anyone who reads the B4PN Weekly Announcement knows we have been working closely with the Social Purpose Institute to bring you #PurposeinBusinessWeek (November 15 to 19) and to promote the Propelling Purpose Summit — The Road to the Purposeful Economy. This is an exciting opportunity to build momentum around business as a force for good, we encourage you to sign up now. As a valued member of this community, you are entitled to a 15% discount using the PAN-21 code when you register here.

Allyson Hewitt, MaRS DD and co-founder of the B4PN will join a cross-sectoral panel on Designing the Ecosystem with Mike Rowlands, Junxion Strategy; Amie Sergas, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development; Chad Park, The Co-operators; and The Honourable Hassan Yussuff, Canadian Senator and former President, Canadian Labour Congress. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

quote of the week

The purpose of sustainability reporting does not align with the purpose of our economic system, and reporting won’t solve the fact that the purpose itself needs to shift.” – Dan Osusky, Head of Standards and Insights, B Lab,
Quartz, October 7, 2021

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AllysonHewitt

CEO Enactus Canada. Past: VP, Impact MaRS. Lecturer MBET, U Waterloo. Thinker in Residence, Australia. Social entrepreneurship, Business for Purpose (B4PN)