This does not mean the idea of acting solely in the interest of shareholders is dead. But we are in a very different context now. Corporations are involved in climate change conferences like COP26, they respond to sustainable development goals set by the United Nations, and they invest in and report on their environmental and social responsibilities.
We have found that a developing moral awareness from corporate decision-makers is helping to undo a traditional “us and them” form of leadership, which is being replaced with a sense of “us with them”.
Businesses of all sizes and in all sectors – coffee sales, metal manufacture, house building and public relations – are raising the value of their businesses while making a positive social impact at the same time.
PROFITS INFLUENCE POWER
Decisions about doing business in Russia show how this works at a global level, where many corporations are as large as countries. Indeed, comparing the value of the largest companies (revenue) to countries (gross domestic product), 150 out of the 200 richest global entities are businesses.
The US retail giant Walmart is wealthier than Australia. The “economies” of Shell and Toyota are each larger than those of Mexico or Sweden or Russia.