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Anand Mahindra: ‘Leaders on Purpose has power to change the language of business discourse’

“Today, more than ever, the world needs to be able to reimagine a new future. A future in which people can feel safe and protected. The initiative being set in motion by Leaders on Purpose is an effort toward defining the new environment. It provides a much-needed aspirational framework – one which has the power to change the language of business discourse and how we regard the future. The philosophy of Leaders on Purpose resonates deeply with Mahindra’s vision and has the potential to become a movement which will define the future for generations to come,” said Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group.
He was speaking about a new coalition of global leaders including the CEOs of Mahindra, Danone, Philips, L’Oreal, and other companies representing a combined annual revenue of over $100 billion USD and a combined global workforce of over 500,000, who have endorsed a roadmap.
The roadmap goal is to create an inclusive and sustainable post-COVID economy that benefits society, the planet, and shareholders for generations to come. In an open letter, the group of fourteen CEOs called on governments to accelerate such a transition by recognizing and supporting purpose-first business as an emerging fourth sector of the economy in the lead up to UN General Assembly week in New York in September 2020.
The signatories to the letter have also committed to advance the purpose-first economy by leveraging their procurement, innovation, research, development, and investment to accelerate the growth of this critical sector. The letter provides a practical roadmap for proactively redesigning corporate structures and government policies in the development of a more supportive ecosystem for organizations that operate under a new business logic. The leaders urge businesses and governments to join them.
These actions are further supported by the launch of the Fourth Sector Policy Hackathon that brings together industry, academic, and institutional partners to unpack persistent public policy challenges, and to identify solutions requiring collective action across the public, private, non-profit and fourth sectors globally.
The group’s diverse community includes corporate leaders from across the globe, including Ajay Banga (Mastercard), Alan Murray (Fortune Media), Anand Mahindra (Mahindra & Mahindra), Dan Hendrix (Interface), Dylan Taylor (Voyager Space Holdings), Emmanuel Faber (Danone), Feike Sijbesma (DSM), Frans van Houten (Philips), Dr. James Mwangi (Equity Bank), Jean-Paul Agon (L’Oreal), John Denton (ICC), Mike Doyle (Omnicom-Ketchum), Roberto Marques (Natura & Co.), & Stefan De Loecker (Beiersdorf).
While governments around the world debate economic and social policies designed to jumpstart the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the “Build it Better” framework includes six key imperatives for public and private sector leaders to guide innovation of public policy as well as corporate and financial structures to accelerate the progress of the purpose-first economy. These imperatives include:
1. Recognize the purpose-first sector.
2. Carefully craft incentives and policies.
3. Incentivize innovations of financial products, risk assessment, valuation models, and ratings.
4. Design for a safe, educated, and healthy society.
5. Leave no one behind.
6. Enable a supportive ecosystem.
Feike Sijbesma, Honorary Chairman DSM, said: “The private sector needs an integrated strategy and supportive eco-system that integrates more fairness, less dependency, more climate and sustainability focus, preparedness, and agility for uncertain times. We each have to think about the world around us, our role in it, our tremendous potential, and how we can contribute to making it better together.”
“Our world was a dangerous and troubled place even before COVID-19 took hold,” said Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever who is now working on transforming the structural impediments to sustainable business. “We have the chance to rebuild a fairer, greener society. But to do so we need courageous business leaders who are willing to act, individually and as a collective. It’s why I applaud the signatories of this letter. No company alone can solve the problems we face. But together we can begin to challenge the orthodoxies which got us here. Together we can help the world change.”
Said Henrietta Fore, Executive Director UNICEF: “As we begin the Decade of Action to achieve agenda 2030, we must work together to reimagine a better world for children, young people and their families around the world – especially in developing markets. This new initiative provides a vehicle for UNICEF to join forces with purpose-driven businesses and support countries and communities as they build stronger economies and systems that can support all people in the years ahead.”

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