Project Syndicate | Thu, Oct 3, 2019
by Dambisa Moyo
NEW YORK – Nowadays, most companies go to great lengths to showcase their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) advocacy alongside their earnings. According to the 2019 Fortune 500 CEO Survey, 44% of business leaders believe that their “company should actively seek to solve major social problems as part of [its] core business strategy.” That is four points higher than the previous year, which suggests that a growing body of CEOs are rejecting the Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman’s famous dictum that, “there is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits.”
The public also sees a larger role for corporate leaders to play in serving the greater good. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, a majority of those polled believe CEOs can effect positive change with respect to gender gaps, prejudice and discrimination, training for the future of work, the environment, data privacy, and other social issues.