Government and media are the least trusted, with corporations faring just a tad better.
Regardless of geography, nobody trusts anybody right now – which brings us back to the plastic bag wars. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock lately, you know that many are questioning intentions of our supermarket chains.
So, which is it? Are Coles and Woolworths doing it for the money, or to save the planet?
Or is it possible they could be doing it for both?
Maybe, in our apparent haste to choose sides, our grey matter has forgotten to souse out the grey area. Chew on this: must the two be mutually exclusive?
Since you’re both a business leader and a consumer, it’s an interesting question to ponder.
But perhaps there’s a more probing (yet rhetorical) question. If you were the head of Coles or Woolworths, what would you have done?
Here’s some food for thought (no supermarket pun intended).
“We see this double-edged sword where if the firm is doing well, investments in corporate social responsibility can buffer a CEO from dismissal. But on the other hand, if there’s negative financial performance, it can really set the CEO up for a situation where they could likely be terminated.”
Digest that with this morsel, again from the Edelman Trust Survey: since 2017, CEOs recorded a seven-percentage-point gain in trust.
While it’s not a massive uptick, it’s significant considering trust is so lacking in our world right now.
Lego (on a mission to use all sustainable materials by 2030) and Microsoft (its commitment to enhancing education) topped the list.
Apple, Samsung and VW all took a nose dive. A culture of secrecy, an exploding smartphone and the remnants of an emissions scandal were to blame for the dips.
Also, late last year, in the dark shadow of the Las Vegas shooting, Fortune held their annual CEO Initiative Event. The topic was … you guessed it … doing well and doing good.
Fish and plastic pollution: plastics contaminate our seafood.
One of the toughest questions asked of the CEOs in attendance was, how can business leaders make a difference?
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon committed to revitalising Detroit. But Dimon didn’t just write a check. Instead, a team from Chase worked with the city of Detroit, donating its own data tools and resources to aid the city government in its investments and planning.
Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya described one of the best accomplishments of his career – building a little league baseball field for his local community in the small upstate New York town where he founded his company.
Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo shared that purpose is now a part of her corporation’s core business versus just a pet project, as it was for her predecessor. In fact, their entire CSR mission is called Performance with Purpose, making that sought-after link between the bottom line and society.
However, you don’t need to be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company to get CSR right.
A Sense Of Larger Purpose.
Here in Sydney, a sense of purpose drove CEO Luke Baylis to co-found SumoSalad.
SumoSalad’s stated purpose is to make Australia a healthier and happier place. To achieve this, Baylis’s business model turns fresh ingredients from local farmers into delicious, healthy fast food. His menu items – while more expensive than a McDonald’s burger – offer options that Australians can feel good about eating on a regular basis.
In fact, Baylis’s passion for health has led to conversations with Australian health minister Greg Hunt.
In Cathy’s work with leaders in remote villages as well as high-powered boardrooms, purpose emerged as the one necessary component of strategic leadership. She also notes an interesting trend to watch – CEO activism.
And indeed, we saw this play out with gay marriage in Australia last year.
But nothing stunned quite like Mark Zuckerberg testifying before the US Senate this autumn.
Imagine the personal impact of having created a business that spread fake news AND released private data. Both of which impacted Trump’s election as well as Britain’s Brexit vote.
Talk about feeling socially responsible.
Moreover, according to a New York Times article published after the trial, the data leak and American / British political implications weren’t the extent of it.