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In a marketplace increasingly concerned with climate change and environmental sustainability, the call to action for companies rings loud and clear. With Millennials and Gen Z consistently willing to pay more for products with purpose and boycott the companies that fall short, businesses and brands can no longer ignore the demands of the environment, or the market.

In this climate, it is tempting for some businesses to engage in ‘greenwashing’, making statements or taking actions that may seem impressive but in reality do little to mitigate environmental impacts. Other companies well and truly practice what they preach, and it comes as no surprise that these are the ones that reap the rewards.

The value of values in today’s world is hard to overstate. In an era of moral upheaval, ethical missteps and depleted trust, people need to know what we stand for – and even more so, they need to see us stand for it.

While the message of corporate values has been drummed into companies for decades, many companies lack a real framework for finding them. Boardrooms filled with executives have watched hours waste away as they attempt to wordsmith lists of abstract values with no clear path through the process. Sadly, the result is often a tokenistic corporate statement that is ultimately inconsequential in the everyday life of the company.

Here are 3 characteristics of effective values to consider in your next corporate values meeting.

It has become a well-known fact in recent years that driverless cars are a future that is soon to arrive. In characteristically ambitious fashion, Tesla founder Elon Musk suggests we will see true autonomous driving available to the public within the next few years. Quartz magazine’s Zack Kanter is equally optimistic, predicting that autonomous cars will be commonplace by 2025 and have a near monopoly by 2030.[1] In the near future, brands like Ford are aiming for a target market of commercial-fleet operators and possibly ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft.[2]

But, what will these developments mean for the everyday life, law and ethics of our near future?

The fundamental goal of businesses is to make a profit. Statements like this have permeated business textbooks, dominated the strategic plans of companies and summarised the ethos of the corporate world essentially since it began.

Economics professor from Columbia University Joseph Stiglitz once said, “It is trust, more than money, that makes the world go around.” 

Today, this is more true than ever.