As a purpose driven organization, we are greatly encouraged to see so many companies both large and small moving toward conscious business practices. In an age when consumers are growing more disillusioned with the ulterior motives of business, those focused on a higher purpose are reaping the benefits of happier employees, more satisfied customers and suppliers and an improved bottom line.
Unfortunately, there remain those shocking examples of well respected, global brands making such an egregious gaffe that it is almost impossible to comprehend. A case in point this week is Volkswagen who recently admitted that it intentionally equipped many Volkswagen and Audi U.S. models with software designed to cheat Federal pollution tests.
The result? A forced halt of sales in the U.S of the models in question amounting to 23% of sales, a recall of 11 million cars worldwide and potentially billions of dollars in fines. The market was not pleased yesterday either as VW’s share price dropped 17%. The fact that this was an institutional decision made at the highest levels and not simply a software glitch is especially troubling. Other than profit, what do you think drives decisions like this?