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Carlos De Guzman

10/01/2015
121188

LS

126 I
Individual Paper: Change the World
In the latest issue of Fortune magazine, the article Doing Well by
Doing Good details how companies today have grown more and more
conscious of the call for social responsibility and the role they play in
bringing about significant change in todays world. In the article, Fortune
goes on to list the top 51 companies who have made considerable strides
towards integrating efforts in addressing socially relevant problems into their
core strategies. The list, aptly called the Change the World List, puts a
spotlight on the growing trend of companies seeking to bring social change
in their pursuit of profit.
Throughout the years, the motive for companies and firms has always
remained unchanged to operate in such a way as to maximize their profits.
While the profit motive has remained the same to this day, companies are
growing increasingly aware of their social responsibility, realizing the true
success that comes in pairing profit and sustainability with social action and
development. As the article suggests, in their long and persistent pursuit for
profit, companies now find that tackling social problems through a profitable
business

model

opens

up

opportunities

towards

innovating,

gaining

competitive advantage, and finding new and better ways to make significant
profit. By addressing global, societal, and environmental issues in their
strategies and drive towards profit, companies are able to create what the
article fundamentally calls shared value.
For companies such as Vodafone, Walmart, and GSK all of whom are
listed among the top ten in Fortunes Change the World List, solving
societal ills and issues offer more than just the opportunity to make a profit,
but to do so in a way that creates a critical change for the people around
them. For Vodafone and Safaricom, ranked first among the list of top

companies, their way of change came by offering people in third world


nations a mobile-money platform which allowed them to save and transfer
money, receive pensions, and pay for bills all through their mobile device.
What was essentially a more convenient and cost-efficient alternative to
banking, the service was able to introduce more than 17 million people from
across different third world nations into the spectrum of the financial world.
In Kenya alone, 42% of the nations GDP is attributed to transactions made
through such service. For Walmart, one of the worlds largest and most
prominent retailers, the initiative towards bringing about social change came
in the way of imposing substantial efforts towards sustainability. By focusing
on renewable sources of energy, comprehensively limiting its wastes, and
restructuring its supply chain, Walmart has managed to set a standard for its
suppliers, going so far as to eliminate an estimated 20 million metric tons of
greenhouse-gas emissions from its supply chain by the end of 2015. For
pharmaceutical company GSK, the development of a vaccine that has
decreased the cases of malaria among children by 40% has proved to be
significantly profitable, as the price of such a vaccine is placed 5% above its
manufacturing costs. Rather than rest on its laurels, the profit GSK gains
from this vaccine goes into the research and development of treatments for
many other illnesses such as hepatitis and HIV.
The article gives light to the ability of capitalism to bring forth
considerable good onto the world, that despite those who rally against the
principle of maximizing profit, companies are able to shift the tides of
perception and prove that the pursuit of profit does not necessarily come at
the expense of social apathy or disregard. On the contrary, Fortunes list
shows how more and more companies are compelled to address social
problems through their core strategies, and in doing so, not only do they
solve global, social, and environmental ills but perform exceptionally well in
the process. Fortunes article highlights a trend that will hopefully carry on
through to the future, to the point of rather than just being the exception of a
handful of companies, it will inevitably become the quintessential norm

that in order for companies to do well, they would inextricably have to do


good.