Across industry and sector, businesses are widening their lenses in pursuit of strategies that benefit both business and society. Gone are the days of the single bottom line. In today's world, purpose-driven business has accelerated to a degree that might be surprising.
PwC Chief Purpose Officer and Corporate Responsibility Leader Shannon Schuyler described these developments to amplify the “Markets Make Change” theme of the ninth annual Social Enterprise Symposium presented March 3, 2017, by the Center for Social Value Creation at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
Schuyler was the keynote speaker for the afternoon-long event in Van Munching Hall that netted more than 500 registrants and engaged 200-plus students for the keynote address (watch video). Schuyler spoke about the role of purpose as a critical vehicle for driving organizational performance, and yielded insights as to why, according to PwC’s annual CEO Global Survey, 93 percent of CEOs, globally, say they recognize purpose, values and culture as keys to driving organizational sustainability and growth.
Breakout sessions that followed the keynote provided additional clarity to the event theme, and explored in greater depth the role of market systems in addressing societal challenges. During the “Model Behavior: 3 Examples of Social Value Creation in Business” panel, speakers conversed about circular and closed-loop business models, the rise of benefit corporations, and the need to integrate social value in traditional business models – in response to market demands, and other global trends.
Dan Nees, director of UMD’s Environmental Finance Center and Smith graduate and dual-degree holder with a Smith MBA/Master of Public Policy, took part in “Financing the Future: Aligning Resources for a Changing World.” Six other alumni spoke on panels including “Supply Chain Traceability: Opportunities and Challenges,” “Sustainable Product Innovation,” and “Building an Impact-Driven Career: How to Find Opportunities and Get Hired.”
The discussions dovetailed with a newly released set of business principles that will inform the center’s portfolio of offerings and outreach to Smith students. Kim Robertella Glinka, the center’s associate director, revealed the principles during the symposium:
- Lead with integrity, transparency and purpose
- Embrace stakeholders
- Invest in the long term
- Safeguard the natural world
- Leverage markets to address societal challenges
Before a closing networking reception, an “Afternoon Buzz” session featured presentations by thought leaders representing Ecosystem Investment Partners, EON, TurBinD, the Case Foundation and Sequence. View the Afternoon Buzz (watch video), in its entirety.
Goodwill Industries and EarthColor joined PwC in supporting the 2017 Social Enterprise Symposium. A complete listing of speakers and sessions is here. In addition to the Smith School of Business, the symposium included registrants from 12 of UMD’s 14 schools and colleges, UMD alumni, students from other universities, and professionals from organizations around the region and nation.
About the Center for Social Value Creation
The Center for Social Value Creation (CSVC) believes business can and should be a driving force for economic, social and environmental prosperity. CSVC works to achieve this vision by engaging, educating, and empowering Smith students to employ principles for better that serve not just the bottom line, but also the world. CSVC offers courses, special events, and co-curricular programming – like the ChangetheWorld Nonprofit Consulting program and the Social Enterprise Symposium – that help Smith students gain exposure to the trends and skills necessary to be business leaders of the 21st century.