Profit With A Purpose: A New Global Model


Global leaders share perspectives and actions on how business can create greater impact beyond profits.

On 24 January 2019, YPO hosted an event and panel discussion, Profit with Purpose: A New Global Model, in Davos, Switzerland. It brought together chief executives with leaders from governments, corporations and NGOs to share perspectives on the positive impact of business in creating a better world. YPO member and Founder of Entrepreneurial Giving, Maurice Ostro led the passion-fueled discussion focused on how businesses can work better together, work better with governments and work better with other organizations to truly be a meaningful force for good.

“Business should have a purpose. For the past week in Davos, that is the overwhelming message you hear. The new 2019 YPO Global Leadership Survey reinforces what we have all been saying. The important question for us YPOers and everyone is how do we transform these words into actions? How do we walk the talk and scale it globally?”
–  Pascal Gerken, 2018-2019 YPO Chairman and CEO of Gerken Group


Grete Faremo

Grete Faremo

Under-Secretary-General & Executive Director, UNOPS

Henrietta Fore

Henrietta Fore

Executive Director, UNICEF

Pascal Gerken

Pascal Gerken

YPO, Past Chairman Board of Directors

Maurice Ostro

Maurice Ostro, OBE

YPO Member and Founder, Entrepreneurial Giving

Lady Lynn de Rothschild

Lady Lynn de Rothschild

CEO, E.L. Rothschild

Sir Martin Sorrell

Sir Martin Sorrell

Executive Chairman, S4 Capital

Halla Tómasdóttir

Halla Tómasdóttir

CEO, The B Team

The Panel

Led by moderator Maurice Ostro, the esteemed panel of global leaders kept the discussion focused on concepts that are broader than one organization or one company. The only way to make a lasting impact is to make sure this idea or this movement of creating businesses that are forces for good reaches beyond the audience that was present in Davos.

“To make true impact, we have to recognize that none of us can do it alone — not governments, not NGOs and not businesses,” says Ostro. “The only way to succeed, the only way to make a meaningful impact is to collaborate.”

And there’s no better place to start a chain reaction of change and positive impact than through the 27,000 members of YPO — heads of businesses, NGOs and industries around the world.

“The question we must ask ourselves,” says Ostro, “is how do we use our business strength to create impact.”

Roundtable Discussions

The event also featured small-group breakouts to encourage deeper discussion and surface specific ideas to address seven areas of concern identified by the panel. The dialog highlighted the following thoughts from participants:

Gender Equality
Although gender ‘equality’ is a good place to start the conversation, some attendees felt a need to change the narrative. Gender ‘neutrality’ was suggested as being more about diversity and not just giving an advantage to women.

Some of the interesting conversation around education included allowing corporations to create opportunities for students from the developing world. This could enable students to come in, learn how businesses work, interact with executives, and really get a sense of how things work so that once they graduate from school, they are able to enter the workforce and bring previously untapped potential.

Income Inequality
Businesses go toward the path of least resistance and will do things like allocating resources in major metropolitan areas rather than smaller cities and rural areas. Business leaders shouldn’t be waiting on government to set minimum wages. Businesses should take the lead for instance when it comes to employee pay and setting threshold standards for income.

There is a responsibility for all organizations to participate in health care. Business leaders should stand up and say health care is something that we are responsible for. It was also stated that it is important to de-stigmatize all forms of health care, including mental health.

Conflict Prevention, Peace and Security
There were many different approaches suggested for addressing the issue of peace. It was discussed that teaching entrepreneurship can be a driver of peace, and that we should hold each other accountable for accomplishing objectives we set for ourselves.

Climate Change
Climate change must be addressed via business. It’s the only way to scale solutions. We should incentivize businesses through public and private partnerships. There is a need to create a global, open-source platform for information sharing.

Infrastructure and Industrial Growth
Globalization is not only an ideal, but in fact, already a reality. It was discussed that the core infrastructure needed in the world is still education. We need to be part of building intellectual constructs for globalization.

To read more about how YPO members are making a difference, visit our Creating Impact page.