What does “Business as an Agent of World Benefit” mean?
Simply put, Business as an Agent of World Benefit is rooted in the idea that business can and should prosper by providing processes and products that create a flourishing future for all.
In 2002, the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio launched an initiative called the “World Inquiry into Business as an Agent of World Benefit” led by Professors David Cooperrider and Ron Fry. Faculty and students created a repository to discover and showcase profitable business innovation in the arena of environmental sustainability and social entrepreneurship. Nearly 300 profiled stories of innovations (from over 3000 submitted) demonstrate that business can be an agent of world benefit.
AIM2Flourish goes beyond the domain of the Weatherhead School. In partnership with the UN’s PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) initiative, AIM2Flourish serves as a call for students, faculty, businesses, customers, and media around the world to participate. This is seen as a powerful way to accelerate the movement toward a flourishing world.
We are inspired by John Ehrenfeld, a friend to the Fowler Center, as well as a Distinguished Fellow, who wrote: "Growth is, ultimately, a measure of quantity; we suggest instead a measure of quality. For us, that something is flourishing — a measure of the fullness of life, not some material metric. Flourishing, as our book of the same title proposes, comes when one can say that life’s cares are being attended to — when every human being is successfully caring for themselves, other humans, and the non-human world that is vital to our maintenance.
This concept of sustainability as the creation and maintenance of flourishing would require the corporate world to think of its businesses in a fundamentally different way. In this model of economic interactions, business’s primary role would be to enable people to flourish — that is, create conditions wherein the whole system flourishes.