Enterprises have always existed with the primary purpose of the pursuit of profits through legal and ethical means but today I believe they have a much larger role to play. Beyond governments, they are the most influential bodies driving large-scale global, societal and economic well-being. By creating jobs and creating wealth, they act as important custodians of social progress and therefore have an implicit responsibility to fulfill their social contract.
Corporate strategy needs to reflect this by focusing equally on delivering performance and on driving progress through fulfilment of their social contract. The pursuit of profit must be balanced with the pursuit of putting that profit to good use for all its stakeholders. In order to make business future-proof and future-ready, attainment of that fine balance between performance and progress must be the driving force.
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As we envision and create a world for future generations, we need to work together with a common purpose – to provide every individual with equal access to an acceptable standard of living. Towards this purpose, the challenges we face today and the dream we see for tomorrow are too huge for any single stakeholder to work in isolation and hope to make progress. It is imperative for every stakeholder – individuals, businesses, societies, academia, policy-makers and governments among others – to work together and play their part in defining and creating our shared destiny.
The World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos has always offered an opportunity to share ideas with other global leaders from government and society as well as business and every region of the world on how best we can achieve these goals and play our own small role in reshaping the world. Davos 2014 certainly promises to be as exciting as ever.
Author: S. D. Shibulal is the chief executive officer of Infosys.