Business for Good: Balancing Purpose with Profit in a Post-Covid Scotland

5th August 2020

Over the past few weeks, we have been catching up with experts in our networks to get their insights and advice on Covid-19 response and recovery. Through a series of webinars, we have explored a range of themes but one that I wanted to highlight was the Business for Good subject.

The webinar examined the power of ‘purpose’ and the opportunities for SME’s in embracing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to create Sustainable Value.

Our speakers Dr Miles Weaver and Dr Hock Tan, Co-lead the B-School for Purpose-driven Organisations as part of Edinburgh Napier’s International Centre for Research in Management and Governance, are so passionate about businesses existing beyond making money and maximising shareholder value. There is a growing consensus that businesses that place “purpose beyond profit” can generate greater returns. Also, the vast majority of their students now say they want to work in purpose-driven organisations.  

Given the current economic climate surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond, Dr Tan made reference that the best way for businesses to prepare is to control the variables they can. Take a step back or pause for thought to reflect on why you are doing what you are doing. Why does your organisation exist? Profit is a result not a purpose. There are challenges and problems in the world but see the opportunities in the purpose of what you do.

They highlighted environmental and social challenges, inspiring us to look after the biosphere and society as a way to achieve economic growth. Dr Weaver stated, “there is no business on a dead planet”.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were outlined as a way to help align your business towards and build your business strategies around and to identify opportunities within their themes.

This is just a flavour of some of these increasingly important themes and some of the areas that we can all focus and reflect on.