Responsible business is a hot topic in 2020, with calls for companies to serve society as a whole, not just their shareholders. This is controversial for many reasons. First, companies also have a responsibility to their investors. Should social responsibility come at the expense of profit? What does the research say?
Second, how does a company actually put social responsibility into practice? How do you make decisions when shareholder value is no longer the primary objective?
Finally, what does it mean to be responsible in a time of crisis? Unilever has donated €100 million of food and sanitizer and is guaranteeing its workers’ jobs. But what if you’re a small business without millions to donate? Or a big business whose revenues have been hit so that you can’t keep paying your workers
Alex Edmans, Professor of Finance at London Business School (LBS), author of Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit and TED Speaker
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