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Authenticity: Our word of the year since 1983 | Purposeful Connections

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I'm always eager to learn the word of the year, a celebration of one idea or theme that sums up culture and society over the preceding 12 months. This year, I was thrilled to hear that Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year was “authentic” — reflecting a global shift toward sincerity, genuineness and credibility. It’s a word I’ve put at the forefront of my ethos and work since 1983, and for good reason. My belief has always been that purpose must be authentic to produce enterprise-wide returns, and — more importantly — resonate with stakeholders, especially employees. 

So why is “authentic” having its moment today? I was intrigued by this statement from Merriam-Webster: "Although clearly a desirable quality, 'authentic' is hard to define and subject to debate." The word “authentic” has several meanings, ranging from "not false or imitation" to "true to one's own personality, spirit, or character." When it comes to business purpose, there’s no debate as to the word’s meaning — nor any question regarding the power of authenticity. Discovering the true ethos of a company and embracing it inspires alignment and stakeholder engagement for significant outcomes. Read my article on authenticity in Sustainable Brands here.

Saying 'so long' to fossil fuels? 🛢️

COP 28 is like the encore that follows Climate Week, putting a sharp point on the year's climate progress. Held this year in Dubai, more than 80 countries convened to push forward an agreement that would phase out fossil fuels. Unfortunately, as of Monday evening (12/11), COP28 was said to be "on the verge of complete failure" with phase-out language removed from the latest draft of the core agreement.

Fighting stigma, finding balance ⛑️

1 in 4 people will experience a mental health condition in their lives. What does that mean for the world's workforce? The Mental Health Coalition, along with 100+ corporate sponsors, is addressing that question with the first ever Wellbeing at Work Day. Sponsors ranging from Citi and Bank of America to Meta and the NBA hosted the first iteration of Wellbeing at Work Day last Tuesday.

Riding the ESG roller coaster 🍃

It wasn't a good year for ESG. Despite months-long efforts to "wipe ESG off the map," a Bloomberg Intelligence survey found that ESG is being largely used to "improve profit, competitiveness, and brand value." Further, 89% of investors say the use of ESG metrics are "mainstream," and 85% believe ESG results in "better returns, resilient portfolios, and enhanced fundamental analysis." At the same time, laws intended to ban ESG are popping up across GOP-led states, and Q3 saw $2.7 billion pulled from sustainable funds.

Harmonizing profit and purpose 🕯️

"Go back to basics." That was a leading message at CECP's mid-November Board of Boards meeting. The closed-door session, which included CEOs from Campbell Soup Company, HSBC Bank, PwC, Tapestry, and other leaders, focused on purpose-driven leadership in a volatile world. With consumers expecting transparency and accountability from corporate America, the conversation focused on staying true to strategy and keeping things simple. On the role of purpose, CEOs agreed that "persistence and a long-term view are essential," and that "purpose and profit are not at odds; they work in harmony."

'Tis the season to 'Deck the Stalls' 🩸

Periods suck. Imagine going through monthly cramps, fatigue, irritability....AND having to pay a high price for period products. Across the US and Canada, 1 in 3 menstruators struggle to afford period products. That's why global nonprofit PERIOD. and Purpose Collaborative member Public Inc. launched their cheeky Deck the Stalls campaign, which features Crampus, the "period Santa," distributing free period products to those in need. See the holiday-themed creative—and learn how you can combat period poverty—below. 

As we revel in the joy of the holiday season, it's important to remember that 2.3 billion of the world’s children are ensnared in the harsh realities of conflict. Explore the extraordinary journey of Save the Children International with Perry Yeatman, Head of Corporate. From emergency response to long-term action, the organization is leaving an indelible mark on the lives of children affected by conflict.


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