Canadian business leaders acknowledge status quo is not sustainable, there is an imperative to act

MONTREAL, Nov. 25, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ –  Global Canada has released a report co-authored by Brian Gallant, former Premier of New Brunswick and Robert Greenhill, Executive Chair of Global Canada entitled “Canadian Voices on the Role of Business in Society” in which 90 prominent Canadians discuss the role of business in society.

“Realizing the importance of the topic of linking profit with purpose, Global Canada hopes this report will encourage more Canadian business leaders to put a more explicit focus on creating shared societal value” said Greenhill.

Amid the efforts to overcome the challenges caused by COVID-19, the conversation about modernizing capitalism and strengthening the relationship between society and business has intensified. Many predict these conversations and movements will pick up even more steam post-pandemic.

“Business leaders are, without question, feeling pressure to do more than simply generate profits and wealth. They understand that Canadians want businesses to do more to contribute to the collective efforts to overcome societal challenges of concern such as inequalities, climate change, and inequities,” said Gallant.

Around the world, initiatives are re-examining the purpose of businesses. Through interviews conducted by Gallant and Greenhill, this report attempts to amplify the voices of Canadians representing a diverse set of leaders across the business, non-profit, and academic fields from all provinces and one territory on the topic of linking profit with purpose and the ever-changing relationship between society and business.

The report is based on a series of interviews conducted either in person or virtually with 60 senior Canadian executives and 30 thought leaders on the role of business in society. Interviewees include Aaron Regent, Bernard Lord, Christine Bergeron, Chuck Magro, Dan Kelly, The Right Honourable David Johnston, Faisal Kazi, Goldy Hyder, Guy Cormier, Hassan Yussuff, Dr. Indira Samarasekera, Jerry Dias, John Bragg, John Manley, Kate White, Kevin Sitka, Larry Tanenbaum, Lisa Kimmel, Louis Audet, Marc-André Blanchard, Dr. Marie Delorme, Mark Little, Max Koeune, Michael Denham, Michael McCain, Michael Sabia, Monique Leroux, Perrin Beatty, Rola Dagher, Scott Banda, Sophie Brochu, Suzanne Bergeron, Tamara Vrooman, Walied Soliman, Yung Wu, Zita Cobb.

The report shares insights from Canadian leaders on why the relationship between society and business matters and why business leaders should care about it – which includes a strong business case for linking profit with purpose. In addition, the survey participants opine on the purpose of business today and what they think will be the role of business in society in the future.

“It is clear from the interviews; the ecosystem in which businesses operate will evolve into something much different than what it has been for the last few decades. This change will be driven by the fact that more and more Canadians, especially younger Canadians, are living their values through all their choices, including who to work for and who to buy from.” said Greenhill.

The authors of the report make five recommendations to Canadian business leaders and thought leaders on how to rebuild trust and reconfirm the positive role of business in Canada in the 21st century.

  1. Every Canadian business should have a clear purpose beyond making money. 
  2. Canadian businesses should align their key metrics with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

  3. The Canadian business community should collectively stand up to be counted: making concrete, time-bound commitments that are refined every three years.

  4. Canadian business leaders should help develop and actively participate in structured national cooperation and collaboration.

  5. The Canadian business community should take a greater leadership role global initiatives and organizations linking profit with purpose.

“Essentially it comes down to this; the business community must link profit with purpose by creating and sharing value with all stakeholders to help to tackle the challenges facing society and the planet if they hope to meet the increasing and evolving expectations of Canadians,” said Gallant.

Global Canada ( is a Montreal-based NGO committed to enhancing Canada’s positive global impact and to identifying global best practices that assist Canada’s own challenges. In an increasingly multi-stakeholder world, Global Canada is of the view that the responsibility for global impact cannot rest with government alone. All stakeholders—including the private sector, universities, social entrepreneurs and philanthropists — have an important role to play.

You can access the report in full here:

Aussi disponible en français.

SOURCE Global Canada Initiative

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