Purpose Plus Profit

I just finished reading my latest book titled Purpose + Profit. The book was written by Harvard professor George Serafeim. Being purpose-driven is no longer a brand or marketing gimmick, but a sea change driven by multiple forces. The book provides data to support the coexistence of both purpose and profit. In fact, it makes the case that purpose-driven companies have better outcomes. In 2017, I spoke about the need for a hybrid of purpose and profit. It is refreshing to read the many examples of how that exact scenario is playing out. Even more encouraging is the advancement in available data that allows us to measure impact – something the author calls impact weighted accounting. I recommend the book and have added it to my library. The Amazon abstract is included below.

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Climate Investing 2.0

According to this recent article, there is a surge in environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investing, which is attracting record amounts of capital and bringing shareholder activism to the forefront. In contrast to the first wave of climate investing, this second wave will benefit from a more established ecosystem. In 2021, global venture capital funding for clean technology hit $43 billion, which was more than double the $20 billion invested in 2020. Experts believe that the trend is just getting started.

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Sustainable Development

There are several broad themes that will receive attention in 2022. They include sustainability, health and wellness, social justice, and mobility (including electric and autonomous vehicles). At the heart of each of these themes is sustainable development, with dialog emerging in three broad buckets:

When viewed through a business lens, each bucket drives focus on sustainable development. The big question for the year is: how do you measure it? It’s one thing to say that sustainability, social good, and inclusion are on equal footing with profitability and growth – it’s another to realize it. A recent book via Alec Ross provides some ideas regarding measurement. Measurement aside, there are plenty of signs that focus will be there. In a recent article on ESG, author Stephanie Mehta Fast Company Impact Council provides insight from members of the council.

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