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Striking a balance with ESG commitments | Purposeful Connections

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The word "commitment" has two common definitions: One, "the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc." and two, "an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action." The stories in this edition reflect both definitions of the word—from the "quiet quitting" movement, which seeks greater flexibility and an escape from our culture of overwork, to the expectations Americans have for the nation's largest companies. And our first story explains that commitments should sometimes be restrictive, at least when it comes to setting goals and pursuing impact. Ultimately, the takeaway is that a healthy balance is vital in most things—impact and ambition, work and life, shareholders and stakeholders, profit and purpose.

"There is a world of difference between purpose and impact." Purpose statements, which speak to a long-term vision and tend to be aspirational, are difficult to challenge. That's well and good, but at a time when stakeholder expectations have never been higher (see our next story), companies need to articulate their impact statements, too. For one, "fuzzy claims to a greater ambition are starting to feel like just another corporate fad"—we call this purpose washing. Impact statements, which are time-bound, tangible, and measurable, can help companies remain accountable while building credibility and trust with stakeholders.

Corporations aren't living up to America's expectations. Three years after the Business Roundtable redefined corporate purpose, JUST Capital explored how well corporations are living up to the expectations of their stakeholders. Less than half (48%) of Americans feel companies promote an economy that serves all Americans, and a majority agree that companies are focusing on their shareholders instead of their workers and customers. As a reminder, the Business Roundtable's statement says companies should "promote an economy that serves all Americans"—not just shareholders.

"Quiet quitting could be the 'great liberation' in response to the Great Resignation." The "quiet quitting" movement, which involves doing the bare minimum without leaving a job, has taken off in recent weeks. Some experts say this isn't necessarily a bad thing for employers, who continue to lose employees due to burnout, often caused by overwork. (Making things worse, for salaried employees this means that extra sweat equity is unpaid labor!). While doing the bare minimum might be taking things to the extreme, employers and employees should embrace opportunities for downtime and balance. This can increase overall employee welfare and happiness, which in turn results in more motivated and productive employees.

It sounds impossible, but this startup is creating water from air. When you understand the science behind (aptly-named) Majik Water, the idea becomes less far-fetched. Majik Water's device harvests clean water directly from the atmosphere—which holds an estimated six times more water than there is groundwater on Earth. Focused in water-scarce regions like Kenya, where 41% of the population lacks access to basic sanitation solutions, the startup hopes to reach 100 million people by 2030.

This week on Purpose 360 Podcast: Ambassador of Hope with Andre Norman


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