That’s what Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs (GS), told us today. That providing business and management education to women in developing and emerging economies meets a “great need” for “enormous [investment] returns” and provides a “wide open area for us [GS] to go.” The firm’s goal of helping 10,000 women is just the beginning, he says.
I have spent 16 hours at CGI, more than half of them interviewing C-suite corporate executives, always asking, “How is your corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative in the interest of shareholders, and how does your board of directors feel about it?” In my posts from CGI, I will share their perspectives on this matter.
To give some background on the case for investing in women, according to former President Bill Clinton, who opened this morning’s session, “Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work and produce 50 percent of the food, yet earn only 10 percent of the income and own 1 percent of the property.” Furthermore, based on GS’s research, “Female education is a key source of support for long-term economic growth.”
Blankfein elaborated on GS’s interests in the 10,000 Women initiative. In addition to promoting economic development and increasing the firm’s reputation, the program has tremendous value as a “recruitment and retention tool. We lose people to public service in the middle of their careers. This initiative makes people feel more complete and fulfilled. People and reputation. We are fiduciaries to manage the firm for the long haul.” Blankfein also commented on how engaged employees are in the mentoring component of the 10,000 Women initiative.
My posts from CGI will feature companies with CSR models that are integral to the corporate strategy, and CEO-led.