Trust is key in relationships between stakeholders and businesses. Business leaders ranked clear communications as the most important priority in building stakeholder trust. During the pandemic, trust in business seemed to become even more of a measure of success. A PWC study found that eighty percent of employees trust their employers the same or more now than before the pandemic.
In order to facilitate trust, businesses must work to reconcile their business objectives with their stakeholders’ interests. According to a recent study by Grand Canyon University, which analyzed companies with the best stakeholder reputations based on their RepTrak 100 ranking, Lego was the most reputable company in 2020, followed by Disney and then Rolex. Reputation drivers included elements such as citizenship, finances, governance, leadership and more.
The study defined conscious capitalism as “the idea that business operations are used as a force for good without sacrificing profitability.” In action, it may look differently for each business. In “The Rise of Conscious Capitalism”, Gretchen Fox writes:
“… when we bring purpose, passion and presence into our work, when we commit to tiny acts of doing-it-differently, and when we intend to create companies, leaders and teams that are integrated on a human level, we create conscious companies. Companies that matter, and will matter for thirty years in the future.”
Lego, Disney and Rolex maintain the best reputations with their stakeholders because they have created conscious companies that do their part for the environment, communities, employees, consumers, and stakeholders while generating revenue.
Lego follows “The LEGO Group Responsible Business Principles” which lines out expectations — for production sites, suppliers and partners — within the categories of ethics, people,
children and the environment.
The Walt Disney Company categorizes their humanitarian goals into six different focuses: ethical conduct, responsible content, environmental stewardship, community engagement, civic engagement and respectful workplaces.
Rolex sponsors the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, which funds individuals with enterprising projects that “improve life on the planet, expand knowledge, propose solutions to major challenges, or preserve our natural and cultural heritage for future generations.”
While conscious capitalism comes in many forms, across many industries, it seems that business amidst a pandemic will only make stakeholder trust more critical.