CEO Today - June 2022

The world is smarter today. With instant information at our fingertips, we can quickly sniff out organisations over-promising and under-delivering. Converging crises mean that leading organisations can no longer rest on their past reputations because their stakeholders are increasingly pushing for more responsible business practices, from defining why they’re here to overhauling their own internal structures, capital investments, ecosystem partner criteria, and operating processes. That’s why this new definition of a brand is vital to understand and embrace. Here are five organisations leading the way. These are not the typical organisations featured in popular brand surveys, which already get enough exposure. These are lesser-known, emerging organisations making demonstrable progress using radical business practices to develop their brand reputation. Doconomy and Alandsbanken There is a 100-year age difference between these two companies. Alandsbanken, from Finland, was started in 1919 and Doconomy, from Sweden, was founded in 2018. Yet they have a shared interest in fostering societal value by encouraging us to reduce our carbon footprint. Alandsbanken was founded by farmers and sea captains who exuded a ‘can do’ attitude. Their authentic story stands in contrast to the slick corporate marketing of bigger financial players that too often trot out the same soulless blather disguised as ‘feel good’ customer care. Alandsbanken’s values include a focus on long-term sustainability in financial and ESG areas. A financial focus is understandable since they are a bank. Yet by pursuing ESG practices Alandsbanken is also signalling to stakeholders that having a societal impact beyond typical banking is vital to their aspirations. Doconomy aims to future proof life on earth. Using the theme ‘Everyday Climate Action’ the company demonstrates care for the environment through a suite of digital tools that tell consumers the carbon footprint impact of their purchases, in essence educating the public about using money as a force for good. The two companies collaborated to create the Aland Index, which measures CO2 emissions arising from transactions. Using special credit cards and ecosystem partners the itemised carbon impact metrics generated by purchases increases consumer awareness about shifting their spending from high carbon to low carbon purchases. Givingway Givingway, founded in 2015 and based in Israel, started in voluntourism, an approach to travel that helps travellers give back to the places they visit. They enlisted the support of more than 7,500 nonprofits in 144 countries and have grown rapidly, evolving their services along the way. Givingway is now a platform with a mobile app that helps travellers and nonprofits manage their voluntourism and fundraising needs. Their model exemplifies how to create impactful, immersive experiences for stakeholders that help communities in emerging markets. Their unique mission combined with advances in digital technology have the potential to create a super app that benefits travellers, communities in need, and nonprofits through its combination of partners, locations, volunteer management, and fundraising. Vancity Vancity is a Canadian credit union with a reputation as a values-based bank that genuinely cares about the people in the communities it serves. They are pushing ahead on multiple fronts to directly address the key challenges of our time. The pandemic led to lost jobs and sharp declines in small THE DISRUPTORS The world is smarter today. With instant information at our fingertips, we can quickly sniff out organisations overpromising and underdelivering. “ “

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