Many companies and investors are embracing the idea that business should be responsible. However, this is controversial for many reasons.
First, it seems unrealistic to think about purpose in a pandemic when companies are strapped for cash, and companies also have a responsibility to their shareholders. Alex Edmans, Professor of Finance at London Business School, will talk about what exactly is a purposeful business and is there a trade-off between purpose and profit, or is it possible for companies to achieve both? Is purpose a “nice-to-have” extra, or is it fundamental to the long-run success of a business? What does the research say?
Second, even if a company wishes to be purposeful, moving this from a mission statement to a reality is far more difficult. Companies know how to make decisions based on shareholder value, because shareholder value can, at least roughly, be quantified. But what does it mean for a business to be purposeful and how can purpose guide a company’s day-to-day decisions? How can leaders ensure that the pursuit of purpose is consistent with long-run shareholder returns?
In addition, Noora Salonoja, CEO and Partner of TouchPoint, a fast-growing Finnish workwear company and a forerunner in sustainable workwear and circular textile solutions, will talk about how the purpose of finding sustainable solutions to the challenges of the textile industry has been driving the company since its foundation in 2008. She will explain why achieving the set targets has not always meant quick wins in the market but required a lot of perseverance and passion, commitment and risk-taking. Noora will also showcase how success through purposeful business can be the key ingredient to healthy and long-term partnerships with customers.
Michaela Ramm-Schmidt, Managing Director, Baltic Sea Action Group
|The power of purposeful business
Alex Edmans, Professor of Finance, London Business School
|Fireside chat and Q&A with Alex Edmans
moderated by Michaela Ramm-Schmidt, Managing Director, Baltic Sea Action Group
|Case Touchpoint – Purposeful business in the textile industry
Noora Salonoja, CEO and Partner, TouchPoint Oy
Alex is Professor of Finance at London Business School. He has a PhD from MIT as a Fulbright Scholar, and was previously a tenured professor at Wharton and an investment banker at Morgan Stanley. Alex has spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos, testified in the UK Parliament, and given the TED talk “What to Trust in a Post-Truth World” and the TEDx talk “The Social Responsibility of Business” with a combined 2.3 million views. He serves as Mercers School Memorial Professor of Business at Gresham College, giving a four-year programme of lectures to the public, and on Royal London Asset Management’s Responsible Investment Advisory Committee. Alex’s book, “Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit”, was featured in the Financial Times list of Business Books of the Year for 2020. He has been named to Poets and Quants Best 40 Professors Under 40 and Thinkers50 Radar.
Noora is the CEO of Touchpoint, a sustainable workwear company from Finland. Together with the team, she is now taking the company to new markets and ambitiously developing the circularity of textiles. Noora has experience in developing new business models, working in growth companies and linking digital to physical. Prior to Touchpoint, Noora worked for the children’s clothing brand Reima. She holds a MSc from Economics and CEMS MIM.