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  • Writer's picturelindsayannkohler

What Responsibility Does A Company Have To Be Good?

This originally appeared on Forbes on May 10, 2024.

Often, we hear reports of the bad actors in the business world. The companies that behave unethically, irresponsibly, immorally, or without any regard for sustainability or the well-being of their people. On the other hand, companies such as Patagonia are often lauded for all the good they do in the world and for being a responsible business. But that begs the question: what responsibility does a company actually have to be good?

The notion of being "good" encompasses various facets, such as ethical business practices, environmental sustainability, community engagement, and fair treatment of employees. However, the question of a company's responsibility to be good challenges CEOs and other decision-makers to transcend mere profit-making and take a stance on where they wish to make an impact. While cash is still king for many businesses, the rise of conscious consumerism and stakeholder activism has heightened expectations for companies to uphold ethical standards and actively address social and environmental challenges.

People want to work for ethical employers, with nearly half of adults saying that working for an ethical business is more important to them than getting a higher salary. Additionally, there’s a plethora of research on how looking after employee well-being can boost productivity. Given that it pays to be good, you’d think more companies would try to be better corporate citizens. KPMG International’s global head of people Nhlamu Dlomu shares some advice on how businesses can increase their positive impact in their communities.

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