Mapping global case studies of Business for Good

Case Study

The coronavirus pandemic triggered the biggest global economic, health care and social crisis in centuries. Post-pandemic, the business landscape is complex and uncertain. With technological advancements, the widening gap between rich and poor, the rise in populism, and an increasingly crowded marketplace, businesses all over the world under pressure to reflect on their approaches and Mapping global case studies of Business for Good

The coronavirus pandemic triggered the biggest global economic, health care and social crisis in centuries. Post-pandemic, the business landscape is complex and uncertain. With technological advancements, the widening gap between rich and poor, the rise in populism, and an increasingly crowded marketplace, businesses all over the world under pressure to reflect on their approaches and consider new ways of doing things.

This debate is love in Hong Kong. While the belief that profit generation is the sole purpose of a business still prevails among the local business community, some businesses are beginning to co-create value with their employees, customers, suppliers or other key stakeholders based on shared interests and values. How that trend could be accelerated needed defining.

Commissioned by the Hong Kong government’s Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund), The Hong Kong Social Entrepreneurship Forum (HKSEF), Ernst & Young (EY), InnoFoco, and SIX came together to understand businesses’ motivations for creating shared value and making recommendations on wider promotion of the business for a good concept.

Our approach
Through a combinations of quantitative and qualitative research, we  explored the motivations and push and pull factors in adopting a stakeholder-centric approach, and investigated whether the younger generation are playing an increasingly important role in influencing business behaviour. These insights helped us build recommendations on the wider promotion of the concept of ‘business for good’.

The resulting report, which includes 18 case studies from Hong Kong and globally,  defined and analysed the different ways businesses have gone beyond shareholder value to embrace stakeholder and social value in 4 key areas: legal structures and new legal forms; standards and criteria; strategies; and Intentions and mindsets. It also provided concrete recommendations on the wider applications of ‘business for good’ for different Hong Kong stakeholder groups, particularly government, business, educators and the media.

Recommendations

Our recommendations were organised in 4 categories. Linking Business for Good to a company’s core mission

  1. Employees as a resource for doing good/Employees as assets – Tackling social challenges should be seen as a new business opportunity, rather than as additional, loss making side projects or CSR/philanthropy
  2. Understanding and responding to the changing aspirations of young stakeholders – Internal influences are important drivers for companies to embrace business for good, and they have co-created their purposeful mission with employees, and paid special attention to employees’ wellbeing.
  3. Enhancing the role of government as an enabler in recognizing and promoting business for good – Businesses should understand the changing preferences of young stakeholders as consumers and global citizens.
  4. Enhancing the role of government as an enabler in recognizing and promoting business for good – including setting up a high level task force to promote shared value, recognize the contributions of pioneering companies, and review procurement or other policies to encourage business to provide solutions to social issues, and raise community-wide understanding of the business for good imperative.

Under each, we examined what should be done, how it could be done, and who should drive the process. This structure shows a clear role for governments in Hong Kong to enable and encourage more Business for Good 

Future exploration

We know there are other regions in the world where there is an emerging discussion on Business for Good. If you would like to see a study like this in your region, which might help the government, or other actors better understand their role and how the can enable action in the area, please get in touch.

For more detail on our work on Business for Good, read more in the themes section.