The Competitive Advantage of Social Good

Leadership Insights by Jay-Ann Gilfoy


I recently had the opportunity to sit on a panel to discuss the use of our competitive advantage for the primarily purpose of social good.

Think about it: How would you deep-dive into a conversation that explores maximizing your competitive advantage for the primary purpose of social good?

I shared a few thoughts from my perspective as the CEO of Vancity Community Investment Bank where our mission is to put finance to work for organizations trying to live to a higher social purpose.

Our competitive advantage is making this work.

 

 

As the leader of this exciting new venture, our strategic decisions that guide our progress and refine our competitive advantage focus on driving change in Canada.

  • To date we have helped 11 organizations in fulfilling their own missions like building affordable housing, employing marginalized people, looking at new business models that re-purpose materials to be more environmentally sustainable.
  • We have financed about $75 million dollars in the last 6 months and we have plans to grow that to $1.2 billion by 2023
  • If we can deliver over a billion of capital to the marketplace, we will be truly helping to put finance to good use!

 

The time has come to think more broadly than just the bottom line and as a federally chartered Bank, and we are in a great position to demonstrate how to put social impact strategies in place and produce profit to re-invest into more community-based opportunities.  Strategies that will ensure we leave a future for our children’s children and beyond.

If you are a leader and decision-maker open to expanding your social purpose mindset as well as your growth and return mindset, I’d like to share three ways you can begin to do so.

 

Start by recognizing that, in fact, these two goals are symbiotic:

  1. Employees want to work for organizations with a social purpose who care about them. There is a war for talent that’s not going away any time soon. The newer generations are attracted to employee-centric organizations they can be proud of – not just for what they do but also for how it makes them feel.
  2. Customers want to buy things from a brand that they trust. Trusted brands are all about transparency, consumer centricity, and doing the right thing.  Build the internal brand and practices to support the external customer needs and the trust level rises. People share their experiences, and companies grow.
  3. Employing any practice that improves energy consumption like installing technology to save heating and cooling, implementing remote working, reuse of materials reduces long-term costs, causes a double-positive effect. Vancity, for example, uses the energy of the elevators in the head office to provide heating and cooling. Better for the environment, reducing our energy footprint, and saves money.

 

The movement to a new cleaner, more tolerant and sustainable economy is gaining momentum in Canada but let’s not kid ourselves, we are behind other countries, despite our core Canadian values.

We have ground to make up and an urgency to do so.

Are you ready to join the social good movement?  I’m proud to lead an organization who is passionate disruptor for social good in Canada and encourage you to join the disruption.


Jay-Ann Gilfoy, a visionary senior leader who develops high-performing teams with a future-oriented focus on people, purpose + profits all operating at their highest potential.  Learn more about Jay-Ann here.

 

1 Comment

  1. Matt MacEachern on February 10, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Hi Jay-Ann
    It seems like there is often tremendous pressure on CEO’s to focus on and maximize profit.
    You have the courage to to do the ‘right thing’ with a focus on the long term gain, whether employees, the community, or the environment. (I’m thinking Patagonia of course). What I take away from your insights is that if leaders take these future focused steps and have the resolve to stick with it (bringing social-good into their mix), they’ll attract more employees, more loyal customers, and earn profit long term.

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