Moving Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility

In today’s world, it’s no longer enough for businesses to view their social contributions through the lens of traditional corporate social responsibility. Increasingly, they are challenged to do more. That’s why we developed total societal impact.

Governments, the public, employees, and investors are looking for evidence that corporations and private capital are committed to building a more sustainable and inclusive economy that meets the basic needs of all.

It’s not just a social challenge; it’s an enormous business opportunity. According to one estimate, the initiatives necessary to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent a $12 trillion business opportunity. Companies don’t have to choose between total shareholder return and reaching the SDGs—investing in one can complement the success of the other.

In response to these trends, we are working with private sector clients to make social impact an integral part of their corporate and business strategies. The goal: to maximize a company’s positive societal impact, an objective that we believe is as important to future business success as traditional financial metrics such as total shareholder return (TSR).

Total societal impact (TSI) is a collection of measures and assessments of the positive and negative economic, social, and environmental effects a company has on the world. A company’s TSI goes beyond traditional initiatives for corporate social responsibility, sustainability, or corporate philanthropy and also includes the impact of its products, services, and operations. The focus is on mobilizing the full scale of a company’s assets, resources, and people to create business innovations that deliver comprehensive and systemic solutions to the world’s biggest challenges.

An active TSI strategy can actually contribute to a company’s financial success and shareholder returns. In a recent study of over 300 companies in four industries, BCG found:

  • Top performers in specific environmental, social, and governance (ESG) topics enjoyed valuation multiples that were 3% to 19% higher, all else being equal, than those of the median performers in those topics.
  • Top performers in certain ESG topics had margins that were up to 12.4 percentage points higher, all else being equal, than those of the median performers in those topics.

Learn More about Total Societal Impact from BCG's Experts

The Business Benefits of Doing Good


The Business Benefits of Doing Good

The Role of the Private Sector in Economic Development: A Case Study

The Role of the Private Sector in Economic Development: A Case Study

CSR and Sustainability Executives Go Mainstream

Harnessing the Real Work of Business for Good

It's Time to Build Shareholder Returns and Societal Impact

Social Impact is Already on Your Competitor's Strategic Agenda—And It should be on Yours, Too

How to Convince a CEO to Use their Company for Social Good

How Total Societal Impact can Drive Up Margins

Why Total Societal Impact should be at the Top of Your Agenda

Moving Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility