It cannot be denied that the pandemic has changed the way we do business and look at the economy. The way we view companies – which were long seen as selfish and self-centered entities – has changed.
So says Bill Boulding, economist and dean of Duke University’s Fuqua Business School, one of the best educational institutions in the United States. VEJA spoke to the expert about the pandemic and the importance of companies.
How widespread is the pandemic’s impact on business?
The pandemic has disrupted business in a way that will forever change how we view the economy. The crisis required a level of creativity and perseverance from the entrepreneurs which is unprecedented. Many businesses are no longer conducted face-to-face, and may never return to the face-to-face plan, as they have become accustomed to the online environment. With many forced to work from home and finding that they prefer this model, leading companies think of ways to adapt to the new times in this sense.
What is the reason for the popularity of ESG trinomials around the world?
There are many factors. A good example is the recent and growing recognition that business can be an important part of society, and can be used for good. In the past, companies were often viewed as selfish agents, but this has been around for a long time. Even CEOs have viewed their companies differently, raising hopes in society that the business community will play a more decisive role on issues such as sustainability.
How did Covid-19 affect this scenario?
The pandemic has certainly made more people believe that companies should take a more active role in common social issues, such as climate change.
Does a company benefit from ESG technologies?
definitely. Employing this method helps companies attract and keep the best employees, because people today value the companies that work with ESGs – which is true even for the most talented individuals who have to work in a business. want to rent.
Why did it take so long for companies to recognize that they had a significant role in society beyond the economic factor?
At least partly, this is due to the fact that the business community has always had an understanding of its importance which is limited to factors such as job creation and the provision of valuable goods and services. Thus, it was the vision that companies could provide dignity to man. It still exists. What has changed is the notion that business is an institution that society relies on, and with that come duties and obligations, not just profits. Therefore its transformative power should be used in favor of the society as a whole.
Is ESG more than a means of attracting more consumers to a business, as the importance attached to this method has increased?
The question of whether a company chooses to commit to society because it is the right thing to do or if it is because it intends to make more profit is very complex. In my opinion, a little bit of everything: yes, there are people who understand the importance of ESG in relation to its impact on society; But there are some who employ this method in their own interest. To me, the reason doesn’t matter much, as long as the right and sustainable techniques are being employed.
If society’s confidence in business is increasing, what should they do to live up to that belief?
This is a critical issue. Today, more is expected of a company and its role in society than it was a few centuries ago. The way to live up to that is to deliver on your promises, work relentlessly with the current expectations. The person running a company must take into account the trust that society places on him. When someone in a position of power makes a decision contrary to the common interest, that trust disappears. Business should be a platform for positive change in the world.