Larry Fink's 2019 letter to CEOs: Purpose and profit
Around the world, frustration with years of stagnant wages, the effect of technology on jobs, and uncertainty about the future have fueled popular anger, nationalism, and xenophobia. In response, some of the world’s leading democracies have descended into wrenching political dysfunction... Unnerved by fundamental economic changes and the failure of government to provide lasting solutions, society is increasingly looking to companies, both public and private, to address pressing social and economic issues.
Purpose is not the sole pursuit of profits but the animating force for achieving them... Purpose drives ethical behavior and creates an essential check on actions that go against the best interests of stakeholders... As divisions continue to deepen, companies must demonstrate their commitment to the countries, regions, and communities where they operate, particularly on issues central to the world’s future prosperity. Companies cannot solve every issue of public importance, but there are many – from retirement to infrastructure to preparing workers for the jobs of the future – that cannot be solved without corporate leadership... Companies that fulfill their purpose and responsibilities to stakeholders reap rewards over the long-term. Companies that ignore them stumble and fail... Attracting and retaining the best talent increasingly requires a clear expression of purpose. With unemployment improving across the globe, workers, not just shareholders, can and will have a greater say in defining a company’s purpose, priorities, and even the specifics of its business... As wealth shifts and investing preferences change, environmental, social, and governance issues will be increasingly material to corporate valuations.