In order for businesses to grow in today's world, should they place greater importance on purpose? And where and when should this purpose be decided? For example, should it be in the boardroom, at shareholders general meetings or in the early years of a businesses' life? Or should the main driver for change come from the consumer?
The uprising against plastics and single-use plastics, in particular, serves to illustrate how consumers are much more in touch with how an enterprise should go about its business, far more ethically than perhaps they would have been in the past.
I attended a talk a few months ago at the agency Mullenloewe Salt entitled 'Is conscious capitalism the only way for business to win?', the subject was discussed in depth and the conclusion was that whilst capitalism needs to change, it must come from a 'steel' commitment by a business or sector through purpose rather than by a 'glass' commitment. We kept returning to the words 'purpose' and 'consumer', where conscious capitalism should be redefined as 'purpose' and 'consumer' as 'citizen'. It was felt that both 'conscious capitalism' and 'consumer' should be replaced by more holistic terms that focus on the everything rather than just economics, for example, by understanding that a purchase is more than just about the transaction of goods and services.
So where does CEDR fit in? Increasingly, as companies realise they need to change their ways to reflect purpose, by recognising the importance of, for example, socio-economic and environmental responsibility, there will be conflict in the boardroom (since this is where these discussions need to take place). Boardroom conflict still hasn't entered the 21st century in terms of 1.) recognising the importance of purpose and 2.) addressing gender and inequality at board level - CEDR can help in both areas; we provide a course on Managing Conflict and Difficult Conversations on the board and we will soon publish our Diversity & Inclusion initiative which affects not just the Mediation sector but more widely too.
If business is to be responsible and therefore succeed in today's world, they must address these areas and urgently.
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