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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.

Total Societal Impact: A New Lens for Corporate Strategy

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:

Learn More about Total Societal Impact from BCG's Experts

Shalini Unnikrishnan on On The Ground In Rwanda

Shalini Unnikrishnan on On The Ground In Rwanda

The Business Benefits of Doing Good

How Conscious Investors Can Turn up the Heat and Make Companies Change

Stumbling on New Product Innovation? Try Societal Impact

A powerful new way to stimulate innovation is to look at things through the lens of total societal impact. BCG's Dave Young shares five steps for getting started.

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David Young
Senior Partner & Managing Director

You Cannot Divest Your Way to a Greener World

BCG's Vinay Shandal discusses how capital is capable of making money for investors--while creating social good.

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Vinay Shandal
Partner & Managing Director

Harnessing the Real Work of Business for Good

BCG’s Wendy Woods discusses why the world’s biggest problems will never be solved unless we harness the power of the private sector.

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Wendy Woods
Senior Partner & Managing Director, Global Leader, Social Impact practice

Time to Build Shareholder Returns AND Societal Impact

BCG’s CEO, Rich Lesser, discusses why he believes companies should complement their traditional strategies for shareholder value with strategies for TSI—total societal impact.

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Rich Lesser
Chief Executive Officer
New York

How to convince a CEO to use their company for social good

BCG’s Doug Beal reveals data showing that creating social impact and better financial returns go hand in hand.

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Douglas Beal
Director, Social Impact
Hong Kong

How Societal Impact Can Drive Up Margins

BCG’s Fredrik Lind identifies eight factors for successfully transitioning to a TSI approach.

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Fredrik Lind
Senior Partner & Managing Director