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An Action Agenda for all Canadians in Accelerating and Scaling Social Purpose Business

This pandemic, which has devastated the lives of so many, has helped us all realize we must do business differently – that social, environmental, and economic systems need to work together, better. Throughout these past few months, we have seen businesses spontaneously doing remarkable things with powerful pivots. Purpose-driven companies are showing up in ways that will endure long after the pandemic has ended; they are using their purpose to survive, build back stronger and become more sustainable in the long-term. Now is the time to work together to build an inclusive, sustainable and resilient economy coming out of COVID by accelerating the adoption – and impact – of Social Purpose in Business.

Businesses around the world are redefining their role in society to foster business and societal success. They are adopting a Social Purpose as the reason they exist to navigate turbulent times and attract and engage top talent, customers and investors. This is a new approach to economic development.

The US Business Roundtable – CEOs of over 180 of the world’s largest companies – issued a statement in August 2019 endorsing this new view on the purpose of the corporation and the need to consider all of their stakeholders, not simply shareholders, for the future success of their companies, their communities and society at large.

Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock – the largest investment firm in the world with over $6T US in assets – said this: ​“[E]very company needs a framework to navigate this difficult landscape, and that it must begin with a clear embodiment of your company’s purpose in your business model and corporate strategy.” In a March 31, 2020 letter to Shareholders, Fink again noted that “Companies and investors with a strong sense of purpose and a long-term approach will be better able to navigate this [COVID] crisis and its aftermath”.

As more companies define, embed and activate their Social Purpose, this will unlock their resources, relationships and assets for social good over the long-term, creating a better world for all.

It is easy to see why accelerating this change is win-win for business and for society. Social Purpose Businesses will be:

  • Creating new jobs and attracting a growing and motivated workforce
  • Harnessing their resources and competencies to drive social and environmental impact
  • Creating value for all their stakeholders
  • Contributing to stronger communities and regions
  • Treating their employees well, and contributing to local job growth
  • Reducing their negative environmental and social impacts
  • Playing leadership roles in transitioning their industries to become more sustainable and beneficial
  • Initiating collaborations with civil society, governments, the private sector, labour, and others to tackle systemic social and environmental issues and put society on a sustainable course

In February, the Social Purpose Institute convened the first ever Social Purpose Advance session in partnership with GLOBE, focused on how to jump-start the social purpose ecosystem in Canada. Little did we know that a few weeks later, this research would be instrumental in defining proposals to our governments to invest in measures that propel us toward a Purpose-Led Economy and a sustainable future for all.

Just released, you can find an at-a-glance summary (Accelerating and Scaling Social Purpose Business in Canada: How You Can Help and Why), in it a link to the complete Booklet (Turning Social Purpose Dialogue and Vision into Action: A 2020 to 2022 Social Purpose Action Agenda for Canada).

Check out these documents to learn more about the powerful actions all of us can take to advance a sustainable future by championing Social Purpose Business. We invite everyone to join the movement to create a Social Purpose Economy in Canada beyond!

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