How family futures reconcile with a dirty past
A shift in generational leadership can also mean rethinking what "good business" means. Today, environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) shapes investment mandates as well as workplace culture. Business leaders must decide to what degree and how transparently they will address everything from the company’s carbon footprint to its workplace culture and commitment to diversity and inclusion. A conscious approach to the myriad of difficult choices can minimize conflict through the changes.
family office succession

What you need to know

  • The debate between doing business and doing good can open conflict within a family business as it transitions hands.
  • Adapting businesses to new environmental, social and governance goals can be a competitive advantage.
  • Family offices have an important role to play in navigating and changing generational expectations of what it means to do good while doing good business.
PR & Reputation Management Updated on January 16, 2024

Family offices often have a long-term view and are used to preserve and grow the family’s wealth. They often provide support to family businesses, such as offering financial advice and helping to raise capital. Additionally, they can assist family businesses with succession planning. Increasing focus on impact investing and climate change introduces new factors in helping to ensure the continuity of the family business and legacy. Family offices and family businesses can work together to ensure the long-term preservation of wealth and legacy.

In the context of climate change, some business successors are rejecting their families’ businesses to participate in the fight against climate change. Descendants choose to put money and time into projects that are focused on sustainability, carbon-free energy, and environmental protection. For some, this means sacrificing profits for a greater impact on the future of the planet. Some individuals chose to break away from their family’s traditional business model and pursue their own career paths; others challenge family business operations directly. Reasons for doing so vary from person to person, but the common denominator is a desire to find their own unique purpose in life and to create a life that is meaningful to them. Whether seeking new ventures and leaving the family business or confronting disapproval to transform the management of a legacy business, these individuals set examples for future generations of entrepreneurs.

About the Authors

Laura Hermann

Laura Hermann

Strategy & leadership

Laura Hermann prepares high-net-worth individuals and family offices to respond to complex and controversial issues.

Connect with Laura Hermann

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