The damage caused by the 2020 global pandemic—both in economic terms and in the cost to human health—has intensified a debate about corporate power that was already underway. Popular opinion is turning against large corporations, and political, social, and cultural landscapes are shifting at a rapid clip.

In light of this intensifying sentiment, what, exactly, is a corporation’s social responsibility? Companies are more frequently taking on a central role in addressing social and environmental concerns. Around the world, people have become skeptical of capitalism and the dominance of the private sector. This widespread mistrust of market capitalism means that conventional wisdom—such as Friedman’s opinion on the narrow responsibility of a corporation—is due for a reboot. Corporations are now expected—by employees, investors, governments, and society at large—to become outright agents of change. This puts these social and environmental issues firmly on the board’s agenda.

Increasingly, a board is tasked with ensuring that its organization represents and reflects the fact that its customers, clients, and regulators are changing. For all these reasons and more, the world needs strong corporations governed by strong boards. Rather than dismantle the economic system writ large—which would cause immeasurable harm to our lives and societies—we should focus our energies on reforming them.

In my book, How Boards Work: And How They Can Work Better in a Chaotic World, I argue that should start with corporate boards.

Read the full article about strong corporate board governance by Dambisa Moyo at Stanford Social Innovation Review.