The State of Corporate Purpose: Why CSR Matters in 2021

In today's video, we discuss why corporate social responsibility (CSR) matters in 2021 and explore the State of Corporate Purpose Report with the top 5 trends in CSR.

We dive into why the Report was created, its impact on the CSR Industry and how CSR professionals can use the report to grow and scale their programs. We chat about the higher standards of accountability businesses are being held to today, why democratizing choice of giving is crucial, how grass-roots movements are driving change and more.

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So today we have a great show. We're joined by Sona Khosla with Benevity, Chief Impact Officer.

And we're going to talk about the State of Corporate Purpose Report

So Sona let's get right into it. Why was the report created and what are the impacts [00:01:00] for the corporate social responsibility industry?

Why was the State of Corporate Purpose Report developed and how does it impact the CSR Industry?

Sona Khosla:

We felt that obviously 2020 was a year like no other, and some of the trends that we had been seeing kind of brewing or bubbling over the last five to six years really started to boil over in 2020. 

And so it just felt like the right time to start to share some of the insights that we were seeing through our [00:01:30] clients.

We have over 650 clients.

We can have a really unique kind of view into what is happening in corporate purpose.

And we've just kind of seen a tidal change in the way people are approaching it and activating and executing on it.

We've got an incredible robust set of data that we can share with the community that also backs a lot of these trends up with data.

So just felt it was time to start to bring that to light for everyone.

State of Corporate Purpose Report

Karl Yeh:

So [00:02:00] let's start with the first one where corporate purpose shifts from statements to actions.

And one thing that really caught me was purpose-driven companies perform better in every way.

I've been hearing that a lot with other conversations, with other CSR professionals, where having that CSR program is key for not just showing that the company or the business is giving or providing, [00:02:30] but it's also impacting their business objectives as well.

Corporate Purpose Trend #1: Corporate Purpose Shifts from Statements to Actions

Sona Khosla:

Yeah, absolutely.

I mean, I think the data is unequivocal and if people have been in CSR for a long time, they'll have known these things viscerally.

They'll have known that their CSR programs drive pride in their employees or pride in their communities. That they drive a higher engagement retention of employees.

[00:03:00] We did a study a number of years ago that showed that employees who engage in giving and volunteering through their companies are 57% less likely to leave that company.

You see it across the board.

Purpose-driven companies can charge a pricing premium.

They tend to have higher market share, higher market value, higher profitability. The data's out there.

There's a number of stats that prove it.

I think what was different about 2020 was that corporations have been investing [00:03:30] in what we call kind of corporate social responsibility for a long time.

It's not a new concept.

But we've been seeing kind of these trends change over the last number of years.

And last year, what we really saw was that companies were being held to a different standard of accountability around how they were taking action.

And so, whereas companies used to be able to go out and make a statement and say, "We care about this. We believe in this. Or we're able to make a grant to a specific [00:04:00] cause to help alleviate a certain social or environmental issue."

Employees, customers, the public shareholders demanded a different level of accountability this year.

And not only did they want to see those statements be backed up by action, they also wanted to be engaged in that action.

So they're holding them to a different level of accountability, but also a different level engagement.

I want to actually see what you're doing and I want to be able to participate.

And so we kind of referred to [00:04:30] that as companies having to close the say-do gap.

I think Benevity is really focused on, how are companies actually taking action?

And that was really what the State of Corporate Purpose Report was also intended to do, is to show companies the how, because companies know that they have to do it, the next question becomes, how do I do it?

Karl Yeh:

What's really interesting to me was employees are very, very active in, I guess, the granting, the giving, all the goodness [00:05:00] that accompany does, whether if the company is starting very small, like something like a United Way little program, or something more comprehensive with the technology behind it.

It's really interesting to see employees are very active rather than maybe the traditional organization where the employee just goes into work, does their job and comes out.

I think they really want a stake in not just the business objectives, but the direction and how that company or how that organization impacts [00:05:30] some of the causes that they have around the world.

Companies as enablers for employees to be social citizens

Sona Khosla:

Yeah, absolutely.

The expectation is not just being able to see it and be a passive recipient, they want to actually be actively engaged in participating.

But I think, Karl, where you're going is that they also want to drive it to some extent.

And I think that is definitely a trend we are seeing, is that companies are becoming enablers of helping their people, whether they're customers or [00:06:00] employees, become active social citizens, or you could say becoming social activists.

The role that the company plays is very different than the one that they used to.

Karl Yeh:

Which actually leads right into trend number two, which is grassroots movements fuel the... Or grassroots passions fuel collective movements.

And one thing I got from this trend was that it's choice drives the participation.

So [00:06:30] maybe the old days of where the organization would have a specific or one or two set of causes that they want everyone to back.

I think now companies are providing the opportunities where employees get to choose the causes that matter to them, and then the organization will then match it.

Corporate Purpose Trend #2: Grassroots Passions Fuel Collective Movements

Sona Khosla:

And we've been seeing that trend really happen over, I'd say almost the last decade [00:07:00] really.

That is not necessarily a new trend, but what I would say that really got amplified in 2020 is the breadth of causes that people want to support is greater than ever before.

This is where I kind of distinguish corporate social responsibility from corporate purpose, whereas corporate social responsibility had the intent of being a good corporate citizen.

It's almost out of a responsibility to those communities or stakeholders. [00:07:30]

Whereas corporate purposes, it still what is the company stand for and where do they want to direct their funds, but there's also other elements that are driving it.

And so that is the individual purpose of the people who work for that company or buy from that company.

The sense of community connection and the beneficiary, the causes, how are they engaging with that and what do they need or want or see as an opportunity from that corporation?

So it's very multifaceted. [00:08:00]

Giving is personal: Companies can't anticipate what matters to individuals

But what I would say is really interesting about last year was that COVID really amplified this theme because when COVID struck, we saw a massive amount of giving from people.

People wanted to have the sense of ethicacy. They wanted to make a difference.

They wanted to contribute to something bigger than themselves in that moment.

So companies ran matching campaigns, which was incredible [00:08:30].

But what was really interesting is the causes people chose to support in a crisis wouldn't have necessarily have been the ones that a company chose.

We would have looked at probably public health and medical infrastructure, supporting frontline workers.

Those are all really great causes.

But actually we saw individual supporting, for example, arts organizations, which you wouldn't expect.

But that just goes to show that when COVID occurred and all of these events, institutions had to close down, and arts institutions had to close down [00:09:00] and they were losing that support and that critical funding, people stepped up because they recognized how much the arts matter in their communities.

That's just one example of how giving is so personal.

A company could never anticipate what matters to a person.

And so I think that's the beauty of offering really broad choices, that for as many people who are in your company or buying from your company, that's how many causes people probably care about. It's deeply personal [00:09:30].

And so if you're really trying to engage with people, meaningfully, personally, and authentically, offering that choice is a gateway to much greater impact because they're going to be much more likely to engage with you if you are allowing them to choose.

I think we really saw that again with black lives matter movement in June.

Again, the number of social justice causes and racial equity causes was a massive groundswell.

We had never seen giving to that cause category like we did then.

And the causes that people choose to support are promoted sometimes [00:10:00] by their companies, and that's helpful to people who may not have a cause that they care about.

But I can't tell you the number of new causes I discovered just from talking to people about the causes they supported.

And so that's why I think it's powerful to also allow your people to create opportunities for others to participate in, because they get exposed to other non-profits who are working in this area, doing incredible work.

And then they also get that sense of connection to their colleague.

I now know what matters to them, and by supporting this nonprofit, I'm doing good in the world, [00:10:30] but I'm also creating a deeper bond with the people I work with.

That's a really powerful effect of offering choice and empowered action through your people.

Karl Yeh:

There's a couple of things that you said there that really triggered something.

The first one was when you talked about the difference between corporate social responsibility and corporate purpose.

And I want to save that when we talk about what we expect in the future for corporate purpose.

When you touched on the amount or the [00:11:00] number of causes that people want to support, do you see where maybe some causes may conflict with maybe the business value or the business, even just like the number of causes or the willingness or the type of causes that the businesses want to support?

How would companies marry that?

What if employee-supported causes don't match company-supported causes?

Sona Khosla:

Yeah. Absolutely. That's a great question, Karl, and I think it's the question [00:11:30] a lot of companies are asking.

Because as you "take a stand", typically what that means is you're standing for something or against something.

And so how does that work with choice? I think that's a great question.

My perspective is, and Benevity's perspective is, is that there is nothing more powerful than democratizing the choice to give to whoever people feel passionate about.

So a company can take a stand on [00:12:00] a certain issue, but if they offer a platform that allows their people to engage a cause that might be on the other side, that's okay too.

And maybe they can create a user-generated opportunity to engage their colleagues as well. It's not as disenfranchising from the company then because it's not black or white.

It's not that I'm with you or I'm against you. I still have an outlet to express what matters to me [00:12:30].

And I think that is the root of inclusion, right?

When we talk about building an inclusive society, the idea is not to exclude. And so I think it's uncomfortable. Yes, there are people who are going to support issues that maybe I don't support, but I have to be okay with that. And in fact, it's an opening towards those conversations.

I think a powerful thing that companies can do is actually allow that empowered action and then look at their data and actually see, where are their people giving to?

What do they care about? And learn [00:13:00] a little bit more about what their people's passions and interests are.

And then maybe think about when you're going out and talking about your values, how does that shape your values, or how does that shape your programming or your employee experience?

So I think if you want to have an inclusive society, you have to have an inclusive program.

Karl Yeh:

I think that's an amazing answer because it's so easy for organizations to just say, "You know what, we want to avoid certain topics.

So either we don't provide [00:13:30] it in our platform." Or if the easier stand is we only support these causes, very generic causes.

And then from there allow the employees to give to wherever else.

But it's really amazing and I totally agree where when we want to include people, not only do we have to take a stand, but we also have to include, we also have to know and understand that people may not take a stand with you and may [00:14:00] actually be on the opposite side of the stand, but it's okay for that to happen.

And we can still get along and we can still work together in the same business despite the differences on maybe one or two particular issues.

Sona Khosla:

And that is diversity. You just described diversity, right?

And so I think that's... I really credit Bryan de Lottinville, founder and executive chairperson of Benevity, [00:14:30] because when he was building Benevity, at the outset, him and his co-founders or his crew, they were really thinking about democratization and giving power to the people.

And that requires trust.

We often talk about business is the most trusted institution, but I think trust goes two ways. You also to trust your people, which I think we might touch on in a bit, actually.

Karl Yeh:

Yeah. I know we can talk a lot about this issue for sure.

So let's jump to trend [00:15:00] number three, where companies expand their definition of impact. And actually in our previous video, where you can actually check out here in the description below, we talk with Cummins and their CSR programs.


It was really interesting to see different business or teams in an organization work cross-functionally for different CSR or goodness programs.

Their example was their diversity, equity and inclusion [00:15:30] program, working with their corporate responsibility team. So how does that relate to this trend?

Corporate Purpose Trend #3: Companies expand their definition of impact

Sona Khosla:

Yeah. The reality is last year put into sharp focus the issues around equity.

And those are both inside and outside of a company.

And so a number of companies went back.

If you look at some of the granting dollars, we did see companies invest very meaningfully in civil rights, social action, and advocacy groups [00:16:00] to drive more of that kind of equity.

In fact, I think we saw that cause category for granting jump seven spots, which was the biggest leap in all of the granting categories.

So companies are definitely making a meaningful contribution to equity in society through their granting programs.

What's interesting is many organizations have a chief diversity officer or a leader, a diversity, equity, inclusion, or belonging leader. [00:16:30]

And often have kind of informal networks or formalize networks through employee resource groups or affinity groups.

And these are grassroots groups who are forming and coalescing around issues around diversity, helping people to thrive in their organization no matter what your background, color, gender, sexual orientation, creed, whatever it might be.

And so [00:17:00] what we're finding is because this external issue around equity really came up, companies are having to start at home, right?

Do we foster that in our own organization?

And so what's been really interesting is this merging of CSR and DE&I, coming together because the internal work has to be done alongside the external work.

These ERGs are almost like little communities actually.

And [00:17:30] what we're finding is that they don't have a great scalable platform to reach their people.

And especially we've been in this hybrid kind of world where you can't reach employees in the office, and so we need kind of to use digital communications and platforms way more than we used to.

Especially if you're a global company, scaling digitally is the way to reach more people.

And so what we found is actually a number of our clients are onboarding their [00:18:00] ERGs onto the Benevity platform to use it to build that sense of community to run events, to run giving opportunities, to help nonprofits who are working in that sector, to provide learning content and taking action.

So it's been a really interesting use case that's emerged out of this shift in focus around equity.

I don't think that's going to go anywhere.

In fact, I think what we're seeing is social impact [00:18:30] teams really starting to kind of invite the DE&I teams in, because it really is social impact oriented, even though it's within the workplace.

Karl Yeh:

Let's go on to trend number four, where trust-based philanthropy takes hold. And I know before we actually went live here, we were talking about how corporate philanthropy has changed, where trust is the focus.

Can you expand on that?

Corporate Purpose Trend #4: Trust-based philanthropy takes hold

Sona Khosla:

[00:19:00] Yeah. I mean, I think corporate philanthropy has definitely been evolving over the last 60 years, right?

As it should.

Anything should evolve.


But I think in the last five years, and notably last year, we really started to see a shift. It used to be very much this kind of CEO-driven or executive-driven initiative or foundation-driven.

So someone is making the decisions about who [00:19:30] the company partners with, invests in, and how they do that.

It gets expressed in kind of an annual format of whether it's grant making annually or employee campaigns annually.

Rise of the power of the individual: People are driving program direction

This year of grassroots movements, where we really saw what we call kind of the rise of the power of the individual, has completely flipped these programs on their head [00:20:00] .

And so I would say companies are no longer playing kind of the rule of steward and director of all funds and programs, it's actually the people who are starting to drive the direction of these programs.

So for example, I'll make that really concrete.

So a number of companies are actually engaging with our employee resource groups and ERGs to select the nonprofits they're going to grant with and partner with.

So I think that's an interesting case.

Companies are no longer playing kind of the rule of steward and director of all funds and programs, it's actually the people who are starting to drive the direction of these programs.

I think the other thing is we kind of really saw in sharp focus that trust [00:20:30] is not necessarily what it used to be, especially in the media and in government.

And so companies again are starting to trust their people. It goes both ways, right?

Business is the most trusted institution, and so businesses are expected to stand up and do something and enable and empower other people.

But the trust goes both ways.

Organizations also have to trust their nonprofit partners to steward those funds and allocate those funds, [00:21:00] and trust their people.

And so what we're finding is that those ERGs, again, for example, are great sources of information around what's happening on the ground, especially in specific locales.

So if your program is run centrally out of a certain country but you've got people across other countries, those people doing ERGs or social impacting have their ear to the ground to know who are those trusted partners in those communities.

So trust has become another big theme in corporate philanthropy, and [00:21:30] it's no longer, "Hey, trust me, I'm the company. We know what's best." It's actually starting to flow in multiple directions.

Karl Yeh:

What I found really interesting about that, and it wasn't just in this report, it was in the report by Edelman's Trust Barometer, where people found that corporations are more trustworthy and I believe more competent and trustworthy over non-government organizations and even the media.

Now, [00:22:00] obviously, there's a lot of different things that happened over the past couple of years that probably eroded some of that trust.


But what you mentioned regarding how it goes both ways where businesses need to be able to trust their employees and employees need to trust them, and then connecting that trust to their partners as well.

Sona Khosla:

Yeah, exactly.

And so I think that was one of the big trends, was around trust-based philanthropy.

We saw a number of companies kind of taking [00:22:30] a much more multi-faceted approach to their corporate granting programs this past year.

The first thing we saw, and this was very COVID prompted, was we're going to release way more unrestricted funds. Letting organizations decide how they need to allocate those funds.

We're in crisis, you know what's best, you're on the frontline, do what you got to do, we trust you.

That has been a powerful move.

It's been something that has been, I think, slowly [00:23:00] growing over the last number of years, but really took hold and we're seeing a lot of companies go all in on that.

The other thing is that, yes, there were lots more larger, more strategic grants that also went out last year to very specific causes.

So we expect that that's going to continue to happen.

But what we're finding is that it's complimented with much more grassroots or engagement based programs.

So where companies are asking their employees, where do you [00:23:30] want to direct funds?

Or their ERGs, where should we be directing funds?

And in fact, some companies like Adobe actually allocate more of their corporate philanthropy dollars based on the direction from their employees or their people than no one directed from the corporation.

We're starting to see this shift, and I would almost think about it as trust-based philanthropy, yes, but it's also an engagement orientation towards philanthropy and granting that we're starting to see [00:24:00] emerge.

I think we're at the beginning of it, but I think it's going to grow.

Karl Yeh:

So speaking of engagements, let's go into trend number five, which is purpose-driven customer engagement is on the rise.

And I think one of the key stats I got from this is that 72% of customers want to make sure that the companies or brands that they buy from reflect their values.

I know we were talking about the shift, the power shift. [00:24:30] Can you expand on that?

Corporate Purpose Trend #4: Trust-based philanthropy takes hold

Sona Khosla:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think about when you used to buy from a brand, right?

It was like, oh yeah, you kind of want to be a part of that tribe. You like what they stand for.

But now we're expecting a lot more from business.

It's not just about being a part of the cool club and it's about, I actually want you to have the values that I care about, not just the values that you care about.

[00:25:00] And so I think, again, it's driving this very different approach to customer engagement where it used to be, hey, this is what this company stands for, you're with us.

Customers want companies they buy from reflect their values

Are you kind of with us?

It's, hey, this is what our company stands for, but we also really care about what you care about.

And so we're starting to see that choice concept open up into the customer engagement world, because companies are recognizing that in order to engage customers authentically, again, they need to tap into their personal passions.

And so I think [00:25:30] Microsoft Bing is a great example of that, where they're allowing people to do search and support the causes that matter to them through those searches.


And what you'll find is that you'll actually get a much more engaged customer because you're providing them with moments to connect with what matters to them through their interactions with you.

And we saw a lot of boycotting happening last year, switching brands.

And so I think as companies [00:26:00] kind of navigate this new world of employee activism, as well as brand activism, they have to recognize it's not necessarily an or, it's not you're with us or you're not with us, it's how can we engage you through what you care about, and how can we kind of stand for your values in every interaction that we've got?

I think we're starting to see more companies embrace that. It's tricky because it's full of, [00:26:30] who are they going to promote, and is that going to get into the media?

It's scary.

But there are a number of back office controls that companies can put in, but the companies who do it really see that deeper affinity and brand preference.

Karl Yeh:

And it touches on what we had talked about previously, where you don't have to necessarily make sure the employees have to specifically stand with you on [00:27:00] specific causes or perspectives, but it's just providing that opportunity for them to speak their mind, provide their opinions, provide their perspectives as well.

And I think that's where sometimes we run into trouble or businesses run into trouble where it's all or nothing rather than, hey, you know what, even though you may not support us, it's okay to have that voice or that belief [00:27:30] or that perspective as well.

Sona Khosla:

Yeah, absolutely.

We call that the Power of And. It's not an or, it's an and.

I think you nailed it, Karl. And what's interesting is when you look at the data, it's not just fuzzy feelings that people get. Fuzzy, warm feelings towards your brand.

They actually donate 72% more of their own dollars when they're given the choice of who to give to.

I think the other thing is, as CSR programs [00:28:00] and professionals centered around social impact, actually the way to greater social impact is through personal engagement.

Karl Yeh:

So we just finished the five key trends, but there's another piece in the report, which mentions the year of the S.

Can you expand on what that actually means?

The year of the "S"

Sona Khosla:

So the S refers to social in ESG.

ESG is Environment, Social, Governance. And it's a set of nonfinancial measures that investors look [00:28:30] at to assess a company.

And so we have seen a tremendous growth in investment in ESG from investors, which is of course driving executives to think much more about ESG.

And so in fact, our partners at McKinsey have said that CEOs are spending 50% of their time on ESG topics.

And so the S is the social aspect. [00:29:00] What we're really starting to see kind of emerging from last year is that there was a heightened focus on the S.

So we know that environmental measures have been fairly deeply ingrained in organizations.

We've been talking about that for a long time.

The measures are fairly mature.

People understand that they're science-backed targets. They've got good quantitative data on that. Governance, kind of the same thing.

So companies tend [00:29:30] to be much more mature on the E and G than they are on the S.

The S is kind of what we refer to as that squishy middle of doing good, that hasn't really evolved or matured as quickly.

But we really think that its time has come.

And that's because in 2020, the lack of long-term investment in the S really showed up in acute crisis, right? In COVID and through the black lives matter movement where we could see that the inequities in society have been going on way [00:30:00] too long.

And I think we saw people say, "This is enough. We're at crisis mode now. We have let it go on way too long."

And so we're starting to see companies more meaningfully tackle the S.

But the S hasn't been really that well-defined. And so we think that this year, as companies start to reflect on last year and think about how they're going to invest for the future, they're going to be thinking about, how do we do that in a way that has kind [00:30:30] of sustainable support for these critical issues that are really existential and getting to crisis, right? Like climate action, like inequity.

I think we're going to see the high spot for S defined this year.

We're going to see the playbook defined this year.

And so it's a real opportunity for companies who are having that conversation with their executive and their boards to say, "What does that [00:31:00] look like for us? And how can we contribute? And what is our high spot for the S?"

And really set the bar high, because these are critical issues that have gone on way too long and require the power, the convening power of corporations, the resources and reach of corporations.

So let's use businesses to start to tackle some of those most challenging issues that we face as a society.

Karl Yeh:

And just [00:31:30] to add to that point too, I keep seeing this in a lot of examples now.

The famous one is with Tim Cook and the executive team at Apple where their bonuses, I believe their executive bonuses, were tied into that ESG.

And it's not just the business objectives of how many phones we sell, or how many subscribers we get for our services, but it's also like how good are our businesses doing for the world? [00:32:00] And I'm also starting to see a lot of...

Surprisingly too, here in Alberta, some of the oil and gas companies have really adopted that ESG into their programs as well.

Sona Khosla:

And I think this is the year of really kind of learning what that means and what that looks like.

And I think every industry is really assessing what that looks like for them.

I'm tremendously excited by some of the action I'm seeing.

We've got a client called Gibson Energy who has just done an incredible [00:32:30] job on their ESG plan.


It is becoming the discussion at the executive level.

And tying executive compensation to it, I think, we'll see what that does from a behavioral perspective. Because I think that the motivation has to be somewhat purpose- oriented for it to succeed, right?

If [00:33:00] you're trying to use purpose to drive only business outcomes, you won't succeed.

And so that's the beauty of social in ESG, is saying, "Actually we also care about social criteria, how well are you doing?"

I think we'll see how that flows.

But what I'm excited about is that the conversation is no longer just siloed into the CSR department.

And it's not just the executive who represents the CSR program or the corporate purpose program.

It's now CFOs [00:33:30] getting very invested in understanding and literate in ESG.

It is those chief diversity officers, those chief human resource officers.

So I think it's actually creating an interesting opportunity for the executive to align on something that is greater than the profit motive of the business, but also the social impact and social opportunity for the business.

Karl Yeh:

We talked a lot about the trends in the year of the S, [00:34:00] but how would seasoned or beginner corporate social responsibility professionals actually go about using the support to help them scale or grow their programs?

How would CSR pros use the State of Corporate Purpose Report for their programs?

Sona Khosla: Yeah, that's a great question, Karl.

First of all, it is a 55-page report and there's an audio version.

So digesting the information obviously is one element.

It's rich with data and it's data you can trust because [00:34:30] we've got some of the most robust data set in the industry.

It's packed with data.

And I think what we're finding is a number of leaders need to lean on this data to help other people within the business understand what the opportunity is and what the benefit is and to whom.

And so hopefully it provides corporate purpose leaders with some nuggets or some talk tracks or some talking points that will help [00:35:00] bring other people along in their organization.

I think the most important way to use it is to actually assess your own mindset around these things, are you embracing the fact that we're seeing a massive shift in power?

And are you ready for that?

And then how do you think about getting your organization ready?

Because every organization is at a different comfort level and a different maturity level when it comes to embracing kind of grassroots movements or [00:35:30] the power of democratization.

But that is where it's going.

So I think leaders need to be thinking about, are we ready?

How do I get people ready?

And how does this data help me prepare the organization for kind of a new era of corporate purpose?

Karl Yeh:

The final question I have for you is, where do you see corporate social responsibility and specifically corporate purpose in 2021 and beyond?

And what are some things that we can [00:36:00] do to prepare our programs as we move forward?

What I really want to also touch on is you mentioned the difference between corporate social responsibility and corporate purpose. Is that something where the traditional or what current CSR is being done today, is that morphing into what we're calling corporate purpose?

Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Purpose

Sona Khosla:

Yes. I think that's exactly the right question, Karl, because as we look out, I think our current [00:36:30] approach to corporate social responsibility is at an inflection point.

You can choose to look forward and see where it's going, and it is towards corporate purpose, which I almost want to drop the corporate and just say it's purpose-driven, because it's not just about the reason for being for the corporation, it's about the passions and purpose of the people.

It's about the communities that they operate in and the engagement with those communities.

It's about [00:37:00] teams and their purpose and how they get to bring that purpose to life through their relationship with an employer and customer and consumer purpose as well.

So I absolutely think that the future is multi-dimensional when it comes to purpose.

It's no longer going to be directed from a few people.

It's going to be directed from the masses of people.

And I think if we want to achieve the huge social goals that we have, we have [00:37:30] to activate what we at Benevity call those seven billion armies of one.

And we have to do it in the smallest of interactions and the biggest and most meaningful ways for our brands. And it has to be authentic.

And the best way to be authentic is to really tap into the passions and purpose of the people and the communities that these corporations are embedded in.

So, yeah, it's changing.

It's an exciting time [00:38:00] I think. It's a fast changing landscape.

I have a lot of empathy for corporate purpose professionals because they're trying to grapple with a lot of dynamics and a lot of changes.

But I think it's an exciting time and we're defining the future here. So yeah, there's no place I'd rather be.

Karl Yeh:

And so Sona, is there anything else you want to add in terms of the state of corporate purpose report or just messages for CSR pros [00:38:30] in general?

Sona Khosla:

Yeah. I mean, I think what I would say is that is not the time to rest on the tools you've used in the past. This is the time to expand your tool set, expand your mind, take risks, and really forge forward.

Because it's not just good for your corporation or your function, it's an imperative for society and for people.

Question of the day

Have you read the State of Corporate Purpose Report? What were your takeaways? Anything you'd like to see in the next edition?

Connect with Sona Khosla on Linkedin