Can business be a force for good?
There is a huge transition taking place within our culture and society right now. We are seeing some fascinating changes, many of which are being integrated from the younger generations up to the older generations.
Whether we realize it or not, most of us vote with our pocketbooks. Today’s younger generations only support the companies that uphold the values they want to encourage. My generation tends to buy from companies we believe in. Those companies share our values and do things that we feel are important. We also like to get involved and make things happen.
I am Marla, the Green Home Coach. I am pulling an episode out of the archives today with Suzanne Shelton of the Shelton Group. In our conversation, Suzanne and I dive into the notion of companies being a force for good.
Suzanne is an optimistic and inspiring individual with a wealth of relevant information! She founded The Shelton Group, which has done a lot of research and focuses on sustainability, social justice, and the emerging idea of ESG (Environmental Social and Governance) within the mainstream.
Suzanne is a huge believer in business! She understands that when companies benefit from their actions, it inspires them to do more. She and I agree that businesses can be an agent of change and help us wrestle with some of the big immoral problems that exist out there today. Stay tuned for more!
The Shelton Group
The Shelton Group is the country’s leading marketing communications firm that focuses exclusively on the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) space. It is there to help companies gain a market advantage as a result of what they do to create a sustainable and socially just world.
Suzanne founded the company twenty-nine years ago, and they have focused on the ESG space for the last fifteen years.
How The Shelton Group achieves its aim
The Shelton Group achieves its aim by creating ongoing insights gatherings to discuss the thinking and the expectations of the market and how people’s thoughts and expectations translate into the brands they prefer and the products they buy.
Those insights then get applied as marketing communication strategies and communication platforms which the company then amplifies out, over time, on behalf of their clients.
The bias of the Shelton Group
The Shelton Group believes in the power of organizations and entrepreneurialism. It fundamentally trusts in the strength and intensity of business and competition.
Suzanne thinks she is also wired that way!
A force for good
Businesses can be a force for good if everything they do benefits the business in terms of money or profit.
Solving problems in the world
Business can be utilized as a force for good to help with solving some of the many problems in the world. Realistically, however, the only way that any business can work as a force for good is if there is some monetary value in it for that business.
A pragmatic approach
Suzanne believes that businesses need to explain pragmatically how they can read and measure their market advantage and how they intend to execute against that.
An optimistic view
Suzanne is an optimist. She is sure that we will weather the storm of the global pandemic and come out stronger and better than before on the other side. She also feels optimistic that businesses will solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.
The good news
Over the last couple of years, Wall Street has been asking questions that they were not asking five years ago. Investors are also asking questions on investor calls with Fortune 500 companies about diversion and inclusion policies or greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, if a company does not have its environmental and social acts together, it will not be in a position to answer those questions.
Now that Wall Street has started asking those questions, Suzanne finally feels that financials are a part of the environment and part of the work-streams within our society. She also believes that Corporate America is now motivated in a new way.
The best thing that’s happened
For Suzanne, the best thing that has ever happened to move everyone towards creating a sustainable future is that Wall Street has started asking some vital questions that they were not asking before.
The ESG framework
The ESG framework is a framework through which rating agencies measure and rate the performance of companies based on a host of metrics under the environmental, social, and governance categories. Those scores get reported to fund managers and investors on Wall Street. Part of the ESG framework is to obtain metrics on social issues, including gender equity, racial equity, and even pay equity.
Where business needs to go to create meaningful solutions
Although what has been happening in America over the last couple of years is generally not good for business in the long run, Suzanne points out that there is no business case for global warming or societal unrest either.
Suzanne’s advice for business people
Suzanne advises business people to embrace stakeholder capital and a triple-bottom-line approach to move forward, make sense of the world, and help create world peace. She believes that that will ultimately be the best approach for businesses, the world, and the planet because they are all connected.
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