»Environmental, social and governance criteria have come to play a role in more and more decisions about how to allocate financial investments« (The Economist, August 2019).
Investments under such criteria have risen by a fourth in the last 2 years. Why? Because our world is burning. We live in an age of anxiety. And the urgency for action, and change, is becoming clearly impossible to contain.
Simple profit is not enough anymore. More and more corporations consider that they should pursue a purpose beyond the mere interest of shareholders. Young workers are asking for it. They ask for values. They won’t work for a company that doesn’t represent who they are.
Only by creating a strong and durable link with society, brands can maintain and perhaps increase trust.
Everyone is concerned. Every single individual choice, from companies to people, from shareholders to stakeholders, counts.
Creativity has its role to play too. Creativity is at the very centre of this process, because it’s the only way to find new answers, open new paths, imagine new frameworks.
It takes a lot of courage to embrace the change, but guess what, doing the right thing doesn’t forcefully represent loss of money. It can be pretty effective.
Take Nike. The Colin Kaepernik ads. The brand took quite a big risk. Still, its sales rose immediately. And this happened by making a huge, and critically right statement against racism in the US.
But this is not only true for big brands and big problems. The same creative courage can - and should – be applied to ordinary business challenges. Reducing palm oil for a food brand, eliminating plastic in cosmetics packaging, or going electric for a car brand.
There’s no other choice. Let’s embrace purpose. Let’s help, as creative, our brands to develop a deep, genuine sense of purpose. We can play a meaningful role for positive change in the world, and well, it may well be profitable, at every level.
Riccardo Fregoso, Executive Creative Director and President Creative, McCann WorldGroup, France