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Corporations Can Change The World For The Better; Here’s How We Can Help

By News Creatives Authors , in Small Business , at September 9, 2021

Mohammad Anwar is president and CEO of Softway and co-author of the Wall Street Journal Bestseller “Love as a Business Strategy.”

There’s no question that corporations have a huge influence over the world we live in. They create technology that changes our everyday lives, make TV shows and movies that entertain us, deliver food to our tables, and employ millions of people. 

And yet, when we want to make positive change, we look to people in the government to make it happen. 

When we try to solve big issues in today’s society, as long as we leave corporations out of the equation, we will get the same results over and over: a lot of talk and promises, and not a lot of action. 

With the right motivation, it is my belief that corporations could solve world hunger, climate change, poverty, inequity, diversity and inclusion issues, and more because of their vast influence and resources. Corporations exert tremendous leverage on everything in our world, including governmental policies. They have the power to help solve the world’s problems. 

But first, corporations need to know what’s in it for them. After all, business is business. 

People, Profits And Planet Can Coexist 

It’s going to be an uphill battle to get corporations to put people and the planet first, unless we can show them that doing ethical business is good for their bottom line. The good news is, that’s easy to show. 

Just look at Southwest Airlines, one of my favorite examples of a company with heart. During Covid, Southwest didn’t lay off a single employee. Top leadership is committed to taking care of its people, and the company has always been known to have a culture that’s focused on the wellbeing of both employees and passengers. Southwest enjoyed 48 consecutive years of profit until the pandemic, and it came quickly out of the slump to turn a profit in Q1 of 2021. Southwest was the first major airline to make a profit since early 2020, proving that putting people first does not come at the expense of profit. 

Even companies like CVS, Amazon and Target made sacrifices during the pandemic to keep workers employed and products moving to consumers. Profit is always the name of the game for big corporations, but it’s absolutely possible, as these companies have shown, to “do the right thing” and make a hearty profit, too. 

Why It All Starts With Corporate Culture  

Equity, compassion, helpfulness, protection, and fairness create a more positive corporate culture and a better world. The environment needs protection. Diversity and inclusion issues are problems of equity and fairness. Poverty can be solved, in a basic sense, with equity and compassion. Once these values become the standard at corporations, they become standard in other parts of our lives, and my hope is, eventually, in policy. 

Instead of, for example, companies lobbying against environmental regulations, one day I hope to see big corporations putting pressure on governments to do more for labor policies, green business, or civil rights. We already see that in some ways today, proving that this change is possible. 

Back in 2017, North Carolina passed a “bathroom bill” that prevented people from using the restroom that corresponded with their gender identity. LGBTQ+ groups argued that the bill was discriminatory, and several large organizations in North Carolina agreed. North Carolina lost approximately $3.76 billion in business after companies like PayPal and the NCAA pulled their business from the state in protest. More recently, companies like Delta and the MLB have fought against new voting laws in Georgia. 

What Needs To Change At Corporations  

The first step in getting corporations to change the world for the better is changing the corporate culture from one of greed to one with greater humanity, empathy and care. Here are some strategies for how it can be done.   

1. Bring humanity back to the workplace. Currently, corporations value shareholders more than their own employees. Forcing staff to work long hours for low pay or cutting corners to boost bottom lines is common practice. Big returns to shareholders are what guides the ship. No wonder the ship is off course, ethically. Corporations need to understand that they can prioritize their employees and still be profitable. 

2. Find ways to turn a profit without harming the planet. Corporations aren’t necessarily out to ruin the planet. It happens because they think it’s cheaper to cut corners environmentally. It’s not. There are plenty of ways to reduce waste, lower carbon emissions and use environmentally friendly manufacturing and sourcing practices that are just as economically feasible as what they’re doing now. 

3. Employees need to ask the tough questions. Corporations won’t change until someone forces them. Employees need to look into their companies and ask, “How are you handling equity, benefits, environmental practices, etc.?” If employees don’t like the answers, it’s going to be up to them to demand change. Hiring and keeping high-quality talent is important to making industry-disrupting innovations and wide revenue margins. When employees demand improved environmental practices, more maternity leave, better benefits and fair pay, corporations are going to be forced to step up or else lose their most valuable employees. 

4. Consumers need to put pressure on companies. Every movement in the marketplace is based on what sells well and what doesn’t. When corporations see that consumers are buying on the premise of ethical business practices, it’s a wake-up call that doing good is good for business. 

It’s Time For A New Age Of Business 

With a change of corporate culture from one of greed to one of love, humanity and empathy, I believe we’ll see a tremendous difference in legislation, elected officials, and cultural movement toward positive change. Now it’s up to all of us to make it happen. You can do your part by influencing change at your workplace. Small actions can move mountains, and your actions, combined with others on the same journey, can move corporations to make the change you want to see in the world. 

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