Let’s face it! Not one day goes by where we are not faced with horrible news. The spectrum is broad and ranges from the climate crisis over violence and military conflicts to fraud and unethical business conduct. And yes, most people are all sick and tired of it and feel scared by these developments. Is it just the overexposure of these bad news which creates the image or are we seriously doomed as a global society? There is a lot of evidence that life overall has improved on planet earth over the past centuries. Nonetheless, many people and especially the younger generations, gen Z and millennials, are highly concerned about current developments and the future outlook. And they action. People are in the streets demonstrating. “Fridays for Future” and the anti-gun-violence demonstrations in the US are two of the most prominent examples while many other protest forms and organizations are gaining momentum.
What is the role of the private sector in this picture? After all, the global number of businesses is estimated at around 200 million making it one of the biggest life-shaping sectors on this planet. Hence, do businesses take responsibility for a positive and pro-evolutionary development? The answer to this question is: They are starting to take responsibility. While there are still few prominent examples of truly purpose-driven global corporations like Patagonia, Salesforce and Toms the revolution starts from below. Already today there are millions of positive impact startups and purpose-driven small and medium sized companies which set the direction. It is inspiring to watch them sprout and grow everywhere. And hence, considering that we live in the exponential era there is good reason for hope. And doing good for people and the planet comes with the additional bonus of higher financial returns. This has been proven by a plethora of studies by famous universities and independent research institutions. Most publicly traded companies still struggle between the short-term stock market dynamics, the ultimate capitalist rat race, and their ambition to change the world for the better; often leaving them in the purpose-washing zone. More and more people see through this ambivalent behaviour. It is said that generation Z even has a zero-bullshit-tolerance and is completely turned off by any half-ass commitment. Green- and white-washing is therefore the stereotypical shot in the foot.
It’s happening … the revolution of purpose-driven companies has started and the momentum is promising. As our current VUCA world can be expected to be even more VUCA in the next decades and with generation Z and millennials growing into the most significant group of spenders purpose-driven organizations will be growing in lockstep – and this means they will be growing exponentially. Welcome to this world purpose-driven private sector!