CEO Perspective: Balancing Profitability and Company Conscience

By | April 23, 2012

Businesses are expected to do more these days. They must treat employees ethically. They must be transparent with consumers. They must be sophisticated in their CSR programming and initiatives. They must set long-term sustainability and community engagement goals. And they must constantly report on how they are doing.


The list goes on.


Business leaders know that they have to do this. They’ve seen the studies that show again and again that being a good corporate citizen is also good for corporate performance. Even amid tensions from investors and increased expectations from consumers, CEOs are realizing that it pays to deliver on your CSR promise.


Then why is it that so many still do it wrong? Or, even some cases, not at all?


Perhaps they just don’t have the role models.


So here’s one: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who from the start, had a goal to build a company with a soul and social conscience. From a new U.S. jobs program, to comprehensive health insurance for part-time workers, and a focus on ethical sourcing and environmental stewardship, Starbucks has made investing in communities a key element of their brand promise. And it has paid off. Starbucks is enjoying record profits, with Schultz contributing success to the company’s conscience.


Need more evidence that companies can satisfy both consumer and investor pressures? Take a look at what Schultz chose to talk about during his remarks at the annual shareholders meeting last month – the importance of giving back to communities.


Take notes.


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