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Want to Initiate Meaningful Corporate Change?

Interested in how to motivate big business bosses to take positive social steps forward? So are we! This week’s post is an abstract from an insightful article by Anna Patton of Pioneers Post, who shares 7 pro tips from corporate engagement experts who have worked with transformative companies such as Danone and Nespresso. You can read the full article here and we encourage you to do so.

When a large corporation commits to meaningful change to its business, such as reshaping its culture to include an ethic of mutuality or in support of some community or environmental initiative, it can make a transformative difference. But influencing decision-makers to take the leap isn’t always easy. At the 2023 Latimpacto annual conference, speakers from impact organizations that work with large companies in various ways shared what works – and what to avoid. Here are some of their tips:

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1. Think mindset, not only money Some companies want to achieve ambitious goals but with a budget that’s far less ambitious. Finding a balance between expectations and the available budget can be a challenge. The road towards more impact isn't only about money. Often it's more about mindset - doing things differently with the money you already have.

For example, instilling a different ethic can change hearts, and mindsets follow. Changed hearts can move mountains. To really change hearts may take time, not usually much money.

2. Don’t go straight for the CSR team Working only with a company’s corporate social responsibility department (CSR) isn’t ideal, because CSR often runs on a “parallel track” to the core business. That means its budget is always at risk of being cut when company cash is tight. Working with the CSR makes sense but in a “transversal” way – they can support a project which involves other departments, such as those responsible for innovation or new business, and have greater influence on changing how they do business. 3. Hunt out the right people to approach Companies don't decide anything. It’s the people in the companies who decide everything. So be an investigator and figure out who you should be talking to. Look for influential people who typically display empathy, as they're most likely open to conversations about making transformative change. It’s also recommended to get younger employees aboard first. 4. Offer opportunities to co-create Corporates love to put their talent in the service of social challenges. Rather than simply asking for funding, involve corporate employees in the creative process of developing solutions, which the corporation may then help finance when it comes to implementation. To get companies aboard in the first place, trust is a key factor. Be a professional team. 5. Identify business-critical issues Getting a company to make big commitments means identifying key concerns of the moment. Nespresso, for example, had the goal of becoming a certified B Corp. A business-critical issue impeding that goal was its use of disposable aluminum capsules. Resolving how to address that issue removed a barrier that helped Nespresso reach its transformative goal. Now a certified B Corp, Nespresso is committed to a circular model designed to reduce waste while keeping products and materials in use longer. 6. Acknowledge risk and reputation Some company leaders are aware there are reputational risks in not acting to exert positive influence on issues relevant to their company, when it's within their power to so. And reputation matters – particularly for family-owned firms whose name is connected to the business, or who are closely tied to a particular city.

7. Don’t shy away from complexity Transforming corporations and reshaping our wider economy toward a better capitalism is a complex and ongoing process. So, what! Serious social threats, like so many that we daily face, are complex. Complex problems can have elegant solutions, but the devil - or God, depending on your perspective - is still in the details. Don’t shy away from threats simply because the solutions may be complex.

You’re awesome and capable of miracles, if you want, including helping to create the better world you want to see. We hope you’re able to use even one of these recommendations on your journey to becoming a miracle worker. We hope the same for our work here at Consider becoming an active sojourner with us. The world could use every one of us to be a miracle worker.

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"This book merits close, sustained attention as a compelling move beyond both careless thinking and easy ideology."—Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"Better Capitalism is a sincere search for a better world."—Cato Institute


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