In a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Unilever CEO, Alan Jope, talked about the importance of purpose-led businesses.
With the global coronavirus pandemic, Jope sees purpose-led businesses becoming more relevant than ever.
The Scottish business executive has been with Unilever since 1985 and was appointed the CEO in January 2019.
In a time when job security is a massive concern, Jope is “involved in some work with the United Nations on creating job markets, particularly for young people, to reskill and find new jobs.”
He is a global thinker who clearly see the bigger picture on how industry can impact both negatively or positively on the world’s biggest challenges such as climate change and inequality.
Jope speaks fervently about stepping up the company’s digital-learning activities and their ongoing re-training.
This is a time when people need trusted brands.”
Economy vs. health
“We shouldn’t talk about purpose over profits.”
Jope refreshingly maintains that by positioning brands to do good, creating sustainable supply chains and by creating opportunities for their employees, the byproduct of this is better financial performance.
“I really hate to set up some trade-off on purpose vs. profits.”
The Unilever CEO talks fervently about gender inequality too, maintaining that their nonexecutive board and management team is 50/50.
Jope sees purpose-led businesses as good business practice and not simply as boxes to tick.
Key take outs
While Jope is certainly not the only CEO making all the right noises when it comes to purpose-led businesses or as we like to call it, a ‘For-Benefit strategy,’ his interview and wise words have certainly given us hope for the future during these testing times.
On the importance of ethical business practice…
“We believe that if we look after our employees and our customers, if we worry about society and the planet, if we take care of our supplier partners, then our shareholders will be well rewarded.”
On economic equality…
“I think the capitalism that’s evolved over the last 20 years is going to have to change into a more equal, distributive model.”
On the future in a post-coronavirus world…
“Our company is guided by three deeply held beliefs: that brands with purpose grow, companies with purpose last, and people with purpose thrive.”
The aftermath of the global coronavirus pandemic is destined to present a ‘new-normal’ for most people around the world.
Some things will be positive and sadly there will be negative outcomes too.
One ‘new-normal’ we are hoping gains traction, helped by leading industry folk such as Alan Jope, is purpose-led businesses coming to the fore; businesses that understand that there is no need to sacrifice profit to be ethical.
The Bloomberg Businessweek interview with Alan Jope is a fascinating read, one we recommend.
Having identified this shift over 10 years ago, the Bigger Than Me team’s goal is to help our clients create value from a For-Benefit strategy which leads to a For-Profit bottom line.
We consult on this process as an independent and objective partner and through the insight and experience we have gained, are able to provide valuable input to planning strategies.
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