“If you talk about a community-based organization, United Way is it”. That was how blunt Global CEO Emeritus of Deloitte, Punit Renjen, was. He recently participated with the President of United Way Worldwide, Angela Williams, at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Renjen defended in his presentation the importance of large companies in social change. He clearly stated it as a healthy and fair way of doing business: “Business can’t thrive if our communities don’t thrive. Business cannot succeed if the communities are not successful. If I want to hire the best individuals, if I want to retain the very best individuals, I must have a credible response. Doing good, taking care of your communities, is good business”.
According to Renjen, governments and social entities are not enough, companies must get involve in social improvement for the change to be effective. Deloitte invests big amounts of money in social impact, taking great care to address the specific needs of each place; in India, women and girls; in China, the left behind children. But he clarified a surprising point: they have verified that when economic resources are accompanied by the direct involvement of their staff, the positive effect in vulnerable communities multiplies.
Angela Williams, United Way’s highest global representative, supported her speech by explaining the importance of the concept of community, of neighborhood, as a microcosm that suffers the universal trauma of lack of opportunities, with specific manifestations depending on the place. Specific problems for which is necessary to design specific solutions. United Way works as a bridge between all the elements that can generate those solutions, and one of the most significant are companies.
“Our employees or our partners are members of that community”, affirmed the former CEO of Deloitte, pointing out that the logical thing to do is to connect people with people, so that whoever has the power of change clearly sees its direct effect on those in need.
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