Is it time to revamp the Canadian capitalist system?

More than half of Canadians would take on lower pay working for companies that listen to stakeholders

Is it time to revamp the Canadian capitalist system?

Wealth inequality and discrimination are two of the greatest social ills facing the world today, according to a new study. As such, is it time to revamp the capitalist system?

More than half of Canadians (55%) are calling for the current economic climate to become “more inclusive, fairer and more sustainable”. In other words, for capitalism to be reformed.

Read more: The world’s top employers prove 'clean capitalism' pays off

“In the midst of a global pandemic and with much uncertainty facing the world economy, Canadians are largely focused on inequality, inequity, and the environment rather than solely concerned about health care or the economy,” said Brian Gallant, CEO of the Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation (CCPC), which led the study.

Issues such as social and economic injustice have emerged as the top concerns among Canadians, data from CCPC and Navigator showed.

Despite this, most Canadians (81%) still see businesses and corporations playing a significant role in jobs creation, providing essential goods and services and advancing a culture of innovation.

Against the backdrop of wealth inequality, climate change, and discrimination, however, for-profit organizations appear to be lagging in their efforts to become a force of good, the study showed.

Read more: COVID-19: Why tech startups matter in Canada's recovery

Two in three respondents (65%) believe Corporate Canada is focused on making a profit more than looking after the welfare of stakeholders.

Meanwhile, a similar percentage (65%) want the government to step up and compel businesses to prioritize environmental and ethical concerns as much as they value making a profit.

In fact, most Canadians (56%) are open to accepting a lower salary working for a company that cares about stakeholders, such as their employees, retirees and consumers and the communities where they operate.

Canadians expect more from leaders of the corporate world:

  • 62% of respondents believe “if corporations in Canada do better, Canadians do better”
  • 78% think Canadian businesses should “contribute more to the betterment of society”

“The significant pressure on businesses to do more for the betterment of society creates a delicate situation for them as they still need to generate profits, outperform quarterly targets, and create value for shareholders,” said André Pratte, CCPC Vice President and Director of Research.

“Nevertheless, the pressure is very real, and it cannot be ignored,” he said.

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