Global Chairman and CEO, EY
In today's interconnected world, our challenges are so great and so complex that no single organization can address them alone. That means if businesses want to drive more inclusive capitalism, the first, most important step is to build strong partnerships with as many stakeholders as possible.
Achieving more inclusive capitalism will require all hands on deck - and once you start looking, it is possible to find allies almost everywhere. They can be your employees, shareholders, lenders, communities, suppliers, partners, regulators, or government officials. As long as they have a stake in our shared future, it's up to us to seek them out and get them engaged.
At EY, we've found the best way to engage our stakeholders is to distil our shared mission into a company-wide purpose: building a better working world. That sounds incredibly ambitious, but what it means in practice is that we have 200,000 people doing all they can do in small - and sometimes big - ways every day to improve the working world.
As an example, EY has extensive financial reporting and corporate governance knowledge that crosses markets and geographies. We use this knowledge to fuel discussions about important regulatory changes with our clients, business leaders, investors, regulators, legislators and academics. We've seen the power that comes from strong networks like this, and we have worked to leverage these diverse viewpoints to find the best answers to complex questions.
Through our partnerships, we've worked with governments to navigate cash-flow crises, employed data analytics to tackle youth unemployment alongside non-profits, and helped pharmaceutical companies harness the tools to cure lifethreatening diseases. In these ways and more, we've aligned our purpose with our business strategy - and the benefits have been clear.
When businesses purposefully work to engage with a broad set of stakeholders, they do not just make a positive impact on society - they also perform better. In fact, in a survey EY conducted with the Harvard Business Review, an overwhelming number of business leaders - 87 percent - said that they believe a company performs best when their purpose goes beyond profit. In that way, businesses have the power to create a virtuous cycle that positively impacts us all.
Like most important things, the responsibility for building these effective partnerships starts at the top; today's CEOs need to own these relationships. They need to really take the time to engage with a broad range of stakeholders - to establish open two-way communication, where it's clear that they are just as good at listening as they are at talking. This kind of open, authentic collaboration is the best way to move the needle on the social, environmental, and economic challenges we face.