Doing Good By Doing Better. The value of business with a purpose.

Program Overview

Doing Better By Doing Good

The Value of Business with a Purpose Worldwide

Increasingly, there is pressure on brands -- particularly those doing business in emerging markets -- to be cause-committed, truthful, authentic, community engaged, and morally and culturally aligned with how they can help the planet and society as a whole.

Doing Better by Doing Good, a new CMO Council initiative in 2023, will audit, identify, and showcase corporate best practices and successes in blending self-interest with altruism. It will evidence private sector commitment to ESG and sustainability progress, the benefits of CSI spend, and the value realized from improving the wellbeing of people, communities, living conditions, and micro-economies.


The CMO Council recently polled its global members on what they viewed as the essential benefit for making a stand as an ethical brand and evidencing corporate social responsibility in business. Findings indicate most senior marketers believe the biggest gain will come from furthering customer relationships and brand affinity.

Customer preference/trust                                   62%
Employee affinity/loyalty                                       28%
Financial performance/gain                                    6%
Investor confidence/support                                  4%

Responsibility for corporate ESG (environmental, social, governmental) and sustainability mapping and tracking is somewhat like ownership of customer experience (CX) in the enterprise. Defused across multiple lines of business, functional siloes and operational areas. Unfortunately, real ESG accountability and accurate reporting is still a work in progress for companies of all sizes.

Another CMO Council poll of its members on LinkedIn earlier this year reveals 84 percent of marketing leaders believe CMOs should be a pivotal leader and at the forefront of organizational strategy, delivery, adherence, and brand communications around the ESG mandate. A lesser 11 percent view CMOs as part of a team. Only a handful see the CMOs on the sidelines or not involved.

Doing Better by Doing Good: Pilot Program in South Africa

The Doing Better by Doing Good pilot program will highlight the innovation, vibrancy, inclusivity, and effectiveness of business with a purpose in the country. This program will showcase corporate South Africa and multi-nationals doing business in the country as best practice leaders worldwide and underscore the values and benefits that can be attributed to ESG commitment.

Areas of discovery and discussion with chief marketers and reputation leaders in South Africa (and abroad) will include:

  • Level of commitment, progress and comparative success by different types and size of companies (domestic and foreign) operating in South Africa.
  • Areas of priority, focus and achievement relative to addressing societal needs – empowerment, education, training, housing, healthcare, safety, security, essential service delivery, infrastructure, entrepreneurship, community development, diversity, sustainability, and the environment.
  • Forces and factors influencing and elevating CSI strategies – shareholder/stakeholder pressure, social media voice, increased governance, research studies, corporate conscience, brand reputation, business value, socioeconomic concerns, special interest groups/NGOs, etc.
  • Level of activation and engagement of key audiences and stakeholders in the organizational ecosystem, including employees, supply chain, distribution/service network and customer base.
  • Outcomes and progress relative to balancing corporate concern for people, planet, and profit – any indicators, metrics or analytics evidencing or underscoring the theme of Doing Better by Doing Good.
  • Identification and recognition of those corporates leading the way and setting the pace as stand outs, innovators and flag-bearers playing their part in South Africa’s upliftment of disadvantaged communities, at-risk constituencies, and general societal and environmental conditions.
  • Issues, challenges, complexities, and ROI/impact associated with Ethical Branding policies and practices; how to achieve organizational buy-in, participation and ownership.
  • Benefits of delivering on an Ethical Brand promise or claim; ensuring corporate behavior and brand authenticity is true, trusted, and transparent.

Engagements for this program will take place across three categories of companies that are represented on the CMO Council:

  • South African multinationals in banking, telecoms, retail, manufacturing, insurance, food and beverages, business process outsourcing, IT services, digital media, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, etc.
  • Foreign multinationals in financial services, automotive, FMCG, information technology, digital media, professional services, consulting, travel, hospitality, industrial systems, and health care products.
  • Locally based and internally focused South African enterprises and emerging growth companies across all business and industry sectors.



Curated Facts & Stats

The gap between generations in terms of wealth and property ownership will continue to drive global and social change in 2024. According to research conducted in 2023, the median wealth of millennials (born early eighties to late nineties) is less than half that of baby boomers (born mid-fifties to mid-sixties) at the same age.

Source: Bernard Marr/Forbes

Macroeconomic trends, first-party data and the influence of artificial intelligence will all be instrumental for marketers next year.

Source: Marketing Week

Greenhushing, greenshifting, greencrowding: Greenwashing is getting harder to spot. A new EU law against misleading or unverified green claims aims to address the problem and protect consumers. But marketing companies are constantly finding new ways to pull the wool over our eyes.

Source: Euronews

A nonprofit organization and campaign, Spend With Ukraine (SWU), has been established to promote products and services that are available for access to customers all around the world. The online platform works with over 220 Ukrainian-rooted businesses, from tech to creative, lifestyle, education and fashion brands. Those include MacPaw, Bevza, Petcube, Grammarly, Reface, Preply, Delfast, Awesomic and Gunia Project.

Source: Adweek

From greenshifting to greenhushing, non-profit financial think tank Planet Tracker has identified six insidious types of greenwashing to look out for. Here’s what they are and how to spot them, with real world examples.

Source: Euronews

From pollution to human rights violations, new European laws are holding global fashion brands accountable for collateral damage.

Source: Supply Chain Dive

Collectively, the CSI policies act as a catalyst for companies to act as responsible corporate citizens, invest in their communities, support South Africa’s racial transformation agenda, and care for the health of their employees.


Absa Group recently announced our long-term ambition is to achieve a net zero carbon state by 2050, encompassing both operational and financed Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.


Fund managers have grown weary of the growing political scorn aimed at the environmental, social and governance label. So many have decided to call their funds something else.


The social pillar (of ESG) encompasses the way companies interact with their employees and the communities in which they operate. Social issues can include employee diversity and inclusion, workplace safety, company policies on the gender pay gap, fair remuneration or child labour, to name a few.



Curated Reading