Opinion: We should expect more from Canadian business in a post-COVID world

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As Canadians, we should expect all companies to make philanthropy a priority aligned with corporate strategy. The companies I work with take this to heart and strategically invest a percentage of pre-tax profit within the communities where they operate. Despite that foresight, we are surrounded by too many others that do not.

We should start by celebrating companies that are proactively investing to strengthen civil society. They are the inspiration for others who will consider what they too can do. From ending homelessness to progressing Indigenous reconciliation to making arts and culture more accessible to all Canadians, the list of potential high social value investments is as long as our nation is diverse.

To my peers in business: do not be discouraged. It is not possible to tackle every issue, but every business has a role to play. If we don’t invest in the communities around us, these communities will disintegrate. We don’t have to look far to see this in action.

While COVID-19 has put many Canadian businesses on the ropes, some have experienced “business as usual” and a few are even thriving. Those who can must invest, and those who invest must invest more in our non-profit sector because of the mutual benefit that flows from philanthropy. Specifically, resilient communities will nurture the strong economy we hope will come from this pandemic. Once we all embrace non-profits as oil to grease Canada’s economic engine, they will take their rightful place as valued partners in our national approach to #BuildBackBetter.

Stephanie Robertson is chair of Social Value Canada, which is convening the international Social Value Matters 2020 conference in late September. She is also the founder and CEO of SiMPACT Strategy Group and facilitator of the LBG Canada Network.

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