Purpose is the corporate buzzword of today, with politicians, the public and even shareholders calling on businesses to serve wider society. But purpose is also controversial, because companies have a responsibility to deliver returns to investors. Is there a trade-off between purpose and profit, or is it possible for companies to achieve both?
The Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise hosted a virtual talk featuring London Business School Finance Professor Alex Edmans, who critically examined the case for purposeful business using rigorous evidence and real-life examples to show what works – and, importantly, what doesn’t. He discussed practical ways for businesses of all sizes to put purpose into practice, how investors and citizens can play their part, and how we can distinguish businesses that are truly purposeful from those that are greenwashing.