Volume 01 | March 31, 2020
Be a Port in the Storm
“Misfortune is virtue's opportunity.”
- Seneca, Roman Stoic Philosopher, 64 A.D.

Even before the spread of COVID-19 had been labelled a pandemic, it had infected the global economy with a panic not seen since the Great Recession. For individuals, social distancing might be the best practice. For companies, it is ill-advised. A global shift is redefining the contract between businesses and their communities from simply being "responsible" to creating real social value. This is the new frontier for sustainability. This is Social Purpose. Now is the time for companies to recalibrate their thinking, to focus on tackling societal challenges as much as creating shareholder value. Embracing their Social Purpose can help companies not only survive the crisis, but emerge stronger.

Today’s articles highlight several ways companies can (and are) taking a Social Purpose approach to the pandemic. Common among all of them is a focus on employee welfare. Your workforce is the lifeblood of your company, your brand, and your community. You’ll need them when times improve - they need to know you’re there for them when times are tough. Making it easier for them to protect themselves and their families builds loyalty, trust, and contributes to bringing a swift end to the current situation.

This crisis also presents a unique opportunity to serve the community while burnishing your brand. Companies that fail to capitalize on the benefits of a Social Purpose approach might find themselves at a competitive disadvantage later on. 

The storm is raging. The strongest businesses offer safe harbor.
Coronavirus: A Crucial CSR Issue
“Business owners must recognise their companies and staff as communities in and of themselves. By treating workers with the same
level of care, the world may be able to contain
coronavirus sooner rather than later.”

A Policy Cure
“Better to support the economy directly, by
helping affected people and firms pay bills and
borrow money if they need it. For individuals,
the priority should be paying for health care and
providing paid sick leave.”

Clarity in a Crisis
“Businesses and organizations in a range of affected industries are following the recommendations of public health organizations… to provide timely and
accurate information, dispel misinformation, protect their employees, and make thoughtful business decisions to prevent further spread of the illness.”

When Change is Good
“[T]he crisis offers a chance to experiment with new ways of doing things - and to question the wisdom of old habits .”

The Results Are In
“The Kantar Purpose 2020 study demonstrates that over a period of 12 years, the brands with high perceived positive impact have a brand value growth of 175%, versus 86% for medium positive impact and 70% for low positive impact.

Profitable Virtue
“If you have joined the stakeholder capitalism movement, look to how honorably J&J handled an existential financial loss... It did the responsible thing, and it thrived as a result of the sterling reputation it earned with great dignity and honor .”

Stay Calm; Seize the Future
“Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can help companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors . The companies are capable to recover faster from unfavourable situations.”

Investing in Climate Solutions: "growth story of the century"?
Paul Polman, Former CEO at Unilever, thinks so.

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The Social Purpose Exchange is a forum for news and insight on a new way of thinking that is sweeping through corporate boardrooms. Social Purpose is the emerging frontier for sustainability, a global shift that is redefining the contract between businesses and their communities around the world; from a single-minded focus on building shareholder value to a new awareness of the imperative to deliver Social Value. Employees, customers and communities are increasingly demanding that corporations make meaningful contributions to improving society.
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