Daryl Brewster, CECP

Daryl Brewster

CECP: The CEO Force for Good

Editors’ Note

Daryl Brewster has served as the turnaround CEO of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc.; President of Kraft’s $6-billion North American Snacks, Confections, Cereal, and Pet portfolio; President of the $2-billion Planters Specialty Products Company; and Managing Director of Campbell Soup’s U.K./European operations. In addition, Brewster founded a boutique leadership consulting firm and serves on several public, private and nonprofit boards.

Organization Brief

CECP: The CEO Force for Good (cecp.co), a global nonprofit organization, is a CEO-led coalition of more than 200 CEOs of the world’s largest companies across a wide range of industries that believes that a company’s social strategy – how it engages with key stakeholders including employees, communities, investors, and customers – determines a company’s success. CECP provides customized connections and networking, counsel and support, benchmarking and trends, and awareness building and recognition among more than 200 affiliated leading global companies striving to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems through their skills and resources.

Will you discuss the evolution of CECP and how you define the organization’s purpose?

We continue to focus on CECP’s founding belief articulated by Paul Newman, John Whitehead, Peter Malkin and other top CEOs that the world’s leading companies can and should be a force for good in society. This is our purpose and it is true more today than ever.

As we reflect over the past few years, we’re seeing that CEOs are joining a group of influential new activists that the world needs now. Leading CEOs have a global view, consider the longer-term, think about the implications for key stakeholders – employees, customers, communities and investors – and take action in a real-time world in a sustainable fashion.

CECP’s role is then two-fold: to support companies in their social strategies and to advance the notion that business as a whole can, and should, be a force for good. To operationalize that, the CECP team has developed specific initiatives to drive our mission forward.

What are the core initiatives for CECP?

CECP is driving four key initiatives consistent with its mission.

First, CECP continues to have the field’s leading proprietary corporate social engagement database with more than 300 companies contributing, offering data-driven insights about how companies are investing back into society.

Second, CECP’s Corporate Leadership group works with and provides Fast-Track advisory services to companies to answer their questions, be they strategic or tactical, in real-time so the companies can get on with what they’re doing.

Third, CECP’s Communications team helps spread the message about CECP but, more importantly, shares stories about the great work companies are doing – featuring about 20 companies a year while providing insights to dozens more.

The Comms teams also helps to advance the movement by bringing together multiple companies working on key issues. This includes CECP’s signature events – Board of Boards for CECP CEOs and the Summit for corporate social investment executives – and more than a dozen roundtables and webinars annually that address issues by industry, issue or geography.

Fourth, CECP also works with its 200 CEOs to help advance their social investment agendas and the notion of business as a force for good. CECP’s Board of Boards is recognized as one of the top CEO events anywhere. Inspired by that, CECP has embarked on its first-of-a-kind CEO Investor Forums where CECP invites the world’s leading CEOs to share their long-term plans with the world’s biggest investors. So far, nearly two-dozen CEOs have shared their long-term plans with investors representing over $25 trillion in AUM.

We ask CEOs to present clear plans three to five or more years out, which enables CEOs to discuss their key strategies, significant stakeholders and material risk – financial, environmental, social and governance factors — and metrics. No one has ever done that.

Looking towards the longer-term opens up the discussion about the role of business in society.

How critical is it for companies to have their CSR strategy be a part of their business strategy?

It’s essential. CECP brings these individuals to the table to talk about how the company is engaging with its stakeholders and how it can do better.

Companies are generally good at dealing with their suppliers and core customers, but context is important. Companies exist within a larger ecosystem. The communities they deal with are where their next employees, customers or lawsuits are going to come from.

To create value over time, companies must lead in a sustainable world that we can be proud of, that adds value to overall society as well as its significant stakeholders.

Will the private sector lead the way in addressing global concerns?

It many ways, yes. The world’s leading companies have the global perspective, the resources, the talent, and the ability to change the world. They are voted on every day by their customers and employees. Of course, governments will play a role, but citizens are increasingly looking for responsible businesses to lead the way.

What are your views on human capital and the importance of building a diverse and inclusive workforce?

CECP knows from our CEOs that their top priority is attracting the right talent and this is becoming a bigger issue, particularly in the U.S. and established economies as Baby Boomers are leaving the workforce more rapidly than the next generation enters.

It does not look like we’re going to open the borders for widescale immigration, which is one way we could offset this, so that means greater competition to fill the jobs we have.

Today, it’s critical to have trained, well-skilled and driven employees.

Diversity and inclusion talent efforts are critical to engaging parts of the population that are under-represented. More progress needs to be made, particularly for women, people of color and those with special abilities.

How critical is it for companies to tell their stories?

CECP does communication audits with scores of companies to help them tell their stories.

It’s vital for companies to integrate this into their businesses, crafting their stories in personal, authentic and human terms. It often starts with sharing those stories with their employees. This year CECP is leading an effort with many of its companies to do just that.

Is CECP run like a business?

CECP is run just like a business. Everyone has priorities which are reviewed on a quarterly basis and scored based on results. The leadership team identifies and aligns around key strategies connected to CECP’s purpose and values.