Amazon and Apple called on by rivals to “balance profit and purpose” amid landmark ethical shift


Amazon and Apple have been called on in a landmark open letter published in the New York Times to put the planet before profits.

More than 30 American business leaders, which include the heads of retailers like Patagonia and The Body Shop’s owner Natura, took out a full page advert in the New York Times calling for the influential Business Roundtable (RTB) lobby group to adopt more ethically focused business practices.

The RTB represents 181 of the US biggest companies and includes Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos and Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook.

In the open letter the group dubbed ‘B Corporations’, which refers to itself as “a global movement of people using business as a force for good”, calls on the lobby group to combat “short-termism” while balancing “profit and purpose”.

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This comes after the BRT announced it would be expand its definition of the “purpose of a corporation” from purely making profits for its shareholders to include broader goals like caring for staff and the environment.

“We are successful businesses that meet the highest standards of verified positive impact for our workers, customers, suppliers, communities and the environment,” the open letter read.

“We operate with a better model of corporate governance – which gives us, and could give you, a way to combat short-termism and the freedom to make decisions to balance profit and purpose.”

Co-founder of the charity tasked with growing the B Corp movement Andrew Kassoy added: “It’s a significant cultural shift and represents some of the biggest multinationals in the US recognising the problem with shareholder primacy (making as much money as possible for investors).

“That it is not producing the right kind of economic progress or addressing inequality or climate change in the way we would like it to.”

More than 3000 companies across the globe have become B Corps after completing a certification process.

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