Is it a calling to higher “purpose” that is driving this corporate renaissance of companies like Walmart, Nike, Unilever and Tesla? I like to think so, but then again I’m a glass half-full kind of guy and a surfer who is inspired by Yvon Chouinard’s (Patagonia’s founder) corporate manifesto Let My People Go Surfing.
One of the most prominent examples of this activism is Nike’s bold embrace of Colin Kaepernick. Given the hyper charged politics of his movement, Nike could easily have sidestepped the issue, but chose to do almost the exact opposite and also signed Kaepernick to a shoe deal. Nike understands its customers and understands its most valuable asset is its brand. Nike, the largest shoe company in the world, is evolving. Woe to the laggards.
Younger generations led by the Millenials are much more technically savvy and connected than previous generations and starting to flex their financial muscle and leadership. See no evil, hear no evil just doesn’t cut it anymore. Millennials will make up 65% of the workforce globally by 2025 and the environment tops their lists of concerns – maybe it’s because they’ll have to deal with the repercussions of the climate crisis.
Corporate America is listening and starting to recognize that sustainability is not a cost center but an innovation one. As Tim Cook of Apple has said “I think it takes the public sector, the private sector, and academia working together to solve these problems. Climate change is not going to be solved by government.”
It’s a good exercise for all companies to reexamine their purpose and missions. At Sustain 6, our mission “To mobilize employees into climate champions who help accelerate a sustainable transformation at the corporate, community and national level” is driven by our purpose “To build a sustainable planet for all.”
Cheers to the rise of the purpose driven company.