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Living up to the expectations of our stakeholders | Purposeful Connections

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Companies, it's up to you. That is the message we continue to hear from the American public, whether in relation to fair pay, sustainable products, or even basic human rights. Each of the stories in this edition explores how Americans are putting their voices, dollars, and trust behind companies that share their values. To live up to the expectations of their stakeholders, companies need to embed purpose at every level of their organization—from how products are made and distributed to how employees are hired and what they're paid. No matter where your organization is on its purpose journey, resources like JUST Capital and B Corp provide powerful guidance and frameworks for building businesses that drive both business and social impact.

PS: If you want to show your B Corp pride, take a look at B Corp Wear from Purpose Collaborative member firm Oliver Russell.

The next target for socially-responsible investors: Abortion rights. After the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, investing platform Alinea saw "a rush of activity" as young investors supported companies that stand up for reproductive health and freedom. It all started with an investing "playlist" of firms that publicly supported abortion access, which now includes more than 50 companies, including Apple, Pfizer, Levi's, and Tesla. According to a network of shareholder activists, "Reproductive rights at the corporate level are the newest frontier for the environmental, social and governance investing framework."

Give me green! New research from GreenPrint found that 80% of U.S. young adults (18-34) are willing to pay more for sustainable products. This number falls slightly—to 66%—among older Americans, but still represents a significant market for sustainable consumer brands. There's a catch, though: Nearly 80% of consumers aren't sure how to identify environmentally-friendly companies, so sustainable brands would do well to ensure their products, packaging, and communications convey this. How? Consumers say they want to see clear language on products, as well as third-party / independent verification of environmental claims.

Reminder: It's 2022 in America, and there are still employees that don't earn a living wage. Who's responsible? 84% of Americans say companies should take responsibility for their workers' economic security, according to a new report from JUST Capital. Additionally, Americans believe companies should increase wages regularly to keep up with the rising cost of living, provide quality healthcare to all adult workers (including part time), and provide career pathways to obtain positions with higher pay. Respondents also believe this will benefit employers: 71% say companies that pay their frontline workers a living wage will be more competitive.

Who do you trust? For many people, "my employer" ranks highly (though nearly eight-in-ten employees say they trust their coworkers more than their CEO). Edelman's Trust in the Workplace report found that employers have emerged as "anchor[s] of trust and stability," including a place to find community. What can companies do to earn the trust of their employees? According to Axios, they need to "communicate clearly and consistently with workers, who are ready to listen." Put simply, they need to trust their people first.

This week on Purpose 360 Podcast: Ownership Works

Millions of Americans lack the stability and security that wealth bestows. Even many two-income households are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to meet their basic needs and lacking financial security in case of an emergency. Ownership Works, a nonprofit organization, is working to change that by partnering with companies to provide employees with the opportunity to build wealth at work. Through shared ownership, all employees – from management to the assembly line – become owners in the company.


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