Corporations Need to Strive Beyond Profit


By Stephanie Forbis


| Corporations are highly dependent on the concept of more instead of enough. Forty-eight of the top one hundred economies in the world are corporations. This demonstrates that corporations are a huge part of our global economy and need to be at the forefront of decisions on how to build a sustainable economy in a world of finite resources. Maximizing profits for the shareholders is the prime motivator for corporations but instead of maximizing profits they need to be maximizing Corporate Social Responsibility. Corporate Social Responsibility refers to operating a business in a manner that accounts for the social and environmental impact created by the business. CSR is important in terms of cost reductions, general reputation, customer engagement, employee recruitment and retention, and non-market stakeholder engagement. In today’s day and age CSR is becoming more and more of a requirement among consumers and more companies are being held accountable for their negative social and environmental impacts.

This would be a huge shift in the corporate world that would require the value for shareholders to not merely be focused on profit but also the people, the planet, and a purpose. Profit needs to be considered because the company needs to make money, but the companies can also shift their focus by looking at the bigger picture. They need to look at their employees, the environment, and how they can help their community. The Harvard Business Review states that 50% of the global workforce wants work that connects to a larger purpose than merely profit. So, not only is there a need for this shift because we live on a planet of finite resources and have an economy that has its limits of growth, but there is also a demand for this shift.

Corporations have made steps toward being more socially responsible through CSR programs that they create within their own business model. However, there are new corporation structure models that have been incorporated which include the values of Corporate Social Responsibility into the actual structure and standards that the corporation must adhere to in order to be labeled a B Corporation. There are the typical different corporate structures like corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships. However, there is a new type of corporate structure called the B Corporation. B corporations meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Their main goal is to redefine success in business and to look beyond profit at other critical factors in business. Currently, there are over a thousand Certified B Corps from over thirty different countries. However, there are over 18 million companies in the U.S. alone. So just comparing those statistics, one can conclude that we have a long way to go and a lot of work to do with how corporations think and how we think about corporations. If these corporations can do it, why can’t they all?

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