The Purpose of Capitalism: Lessons from Japan premiered in London on Thursday evening last week. As the Western business world wakes up to the concept of purposeful business, Japan has been playing the long game for centuries and is home to some of the oldest and largest companies in the world.
Following the documentary’s debut screening, The Beautiful Truth held a panel discussion with director Dr Victoria James; Leaders on Purpose CEO & Co-Founder, Christa Gyori; Saji Emeritus, Professor of Economic History at LSE; Janet Hunter, who teaches economic history at the LSE; London Business School Professor of Finance, Alex Edmans; and our CEO and Co-Founder, Adam Penny.
Airing on CNBC this month, The Purpose of Capitalism seeks to answer the question: can capitalism be done differently, and better?
Here are our highlights from an incredible evening that brought together business leaders, thinkers and creatives.
“I define purpose as why a company exists, its reason for being and the role that it plays in the world.”Alex Edmans
“Minimum corporation tax is going to be something really interesting to watch, and it needs to be tackled in a global fashion in order to pursue corporate responsibility to the world we all live in.”Dr Victoria James
“I searched on LinkedIn to see how many job adverts had purpose in the title. I expected a few hundred. Globally, it was almost a million. There is a tidal wave of action here.”Christa Gyori
“Let’s take Mercedes, who make car engines. In the pandemic, they reverse engineered CPAP breathing machines. They weren’t expected to do that – there wouldn’t have been a backlash had they done nothing. But we’re seeing a shift in mindset. Purpose is not about doing no harm; it’s about actively doing good.”Alex Edmans
“We need to recognize that these businesses have an emphasis on continuation. That is really important to how they think long-term.”Janet Hunter
“Businesses that are truly purposeful need to assess their impacts and ask, ‘How will we address these? How do we communicate our purposes to our stakeholders?’ It’s about making a commitment to contribute to the value of society. Purpose needs to progress.”Christa Gyori