D&IExecutive leaders seeing the benefits of purpose-driven business

Taking action on social justice issues is a business issue, not just a moral one according to a new report.
Michael HeusnerSeptember 18, 2020

Executive leaders increasingly believe that companies have a responsibility to act on social justice issues, according to a new study.

The 2020 Porter Novelli Executive Purpose Study found that 83 percent of executives surveyed feel an urgency for businesses to be a critical part of driving solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues, including racial injustice and COVID-19.

The survey consisted of 150 C-suite business executives at companies with revenues of more than $500 million.

But while the majority of executive leaders surveyed believed in the role of companies to help drive social change, it wasn’t completely out of the goodness of their hearts.

Being a purpose-driven company helps drive profit, according to 85 percent of those surveyed. Benefits of being such a company include:

  • Increased customer loyalty: 93 percent
  • Likelihood to recommend: 92 percent
  • Likelihood to purchase: 91 percent
  • Differentiation from peers and competitors: 88 percent
  • Improved financial performance: 83 percent
  • License to operate: 65 percent
  • Increased consumer trust: 93 percent

“This year is anything but ‘business as usual’,” said David Bentley, CEO, Porter Novelli. “Yet, this research proves executives understand this time of immense crisis has also created a moment to build back the business community as a more vibrant, inclusive, innovative, and profitable endeavor that serves all stakeholders instead of just shareholders,” he added.

“It’s clear that Americans believe companies must play a central role in building solutions for today and tomorrow,” said Kate Cusick, CMO, Porter Novelli. “Now, this research proves that business leaders not only acknowledge this mandate but are also ready to take the reins and run.”

Michael Heusner

Michael is a senior correspondent at Marcom Weekly covering news, brands and feature stories.

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