A healthy and growing economy should be good news for us all. Yet, while economic optimism is strong — according to a recent Harvard-Harris poll — too many people also believe that economic growth and social inclusion are inherently at odds.
Over the past year in particular, the political debate in the United States and in many parts for the world, from Brexit to Germany, underscored that far too many people are feeling shut out of the rewards of a growing economy. Ensuring that economic growth reaches those being left behind will take work and the business community must lead.
The recent changes in the U.S. corporate tax system and a more constructive regulatory and business environment have now provided a major opportunity for businesses to drive more inclusive growth.
Over the last decade, the notion of a company's broader responsibility to society has evolved. Writing big checks to charity and hoping for the best is no longer sufficient. And the idea that a company must prioritize its bottom line above all else, including its responsibility to society, is simply outdated – the two are interdependent.
Companies need to focus on their full range of stakeholders, including their employees, shareholders, clients and communities at large. And they must play a leadership role in solving problems, pulling together the best of their business — employees, data, technology, relationships and philanthropic capital — to tackle big challenges.
This needs to be incorporated into a company's DNA, not simply because it's the right thing to do but because it is essential to securing their own long-term future.