Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Tim Murphy | The business of doing good

Published:Friday | September 16, 2016 | 9:00 AMTim Murphy

As the world gets smaller thanks to advances in technology, the opportunities increase for new connections between people, cultures and economies. Technology is making it easier to travel. Technology gives us new ways to interact with each other and new ways to transact.

Simply put, technology is providing people with new ways to improve their lives.

These advancements also must drive advancements in the way we think about our roles and the outcomes we drive. Today, it's likely more important than at any other time in history that companies act to not only deliver on their business objectives, but to also have a positive impact on the world around them.

The principle of doing well and doing good holds true for every single person or organisation. It's an especially powerful principle for business and the private sector today. In a business sense, it's the idea that the private sector can be a force for growth and a force for good. A force for good is also a force for good business.

At Mastercard, we do not see the two concepts as mutually exclusive. Rather, we believe there is a business case that can be made for making the world a better place.

Most people know Mastercard for our payments network and the ability to connect buyers and sellers easily, seamlessly and safely across more than 210 countries and territories. As a result, we have the ability - and are actively working - to use our technology to bring more people into the financial mainstream and transform the delivery of humanitarian aid.

 

CONVENIENCE

 

Without the convenience and access you and I take for granted, many people lack the financial services to guard against risk, invest in their future and build better lives. Access to basic financial tools creates economic opportunity and growth, individual empowerment and dignity, and can help reduce poverty.

That is why it is imperative that government and business work in partnership to solve these challenges. Both will need to do their part. Governments will create the regulations that allow businesses to operate and companies will deliver the products and solutions that are meaningful for a specific market and do so at scale.

For our part, we have made a commitment to bring 500 million people into the formal financial system by 2020, and to connect 40 million micro and small merchants, where most of the underserved shop every day, to our electronic payments network in the next five years.

 

CHANGED ENVIRONMENT

 

We also know that the operating environment for humanitarian organisations has changed dramatically. There is an ever-increasing demand for assistance. They face rising costs to deliver aid in dangerous environments. Budgets are shrinking or flat.

To address these challenges, Mastercard has been working for the past few years with the aid community and multiple organisations to design and implement a digital voucher system that uses a chip-enabled card to distribute aid more efficiently, even in the absence of telecommunications infrastructure.

Doing good, however, is not something that a company can just deliver for its customers the same way it delivers its products. Among the most powerful ways an organisation can do well and do good is by incorporating the concept into its objectives and its culture.

The prioritisation of inclusion and embracing diversity across the organisation needs to be woven into the fabric of operations. It allows a company to better understand its customers by bringing outside thinking in. It allows employees to feel more connected to the organisation and to the end goal we all drive toward.

All this requires a commitment beyond placing words on a page or in a mission statement. This approach to doing business is ingrained in our culture and represents a significant part of our corporate strategy. Doing so is the only way we will be able to drive towards making the right impact and ensuring future growth.

- Tim Murphy is general counsel and chief franchise officer at Mastercard.