Corporations pursuing a proactive response need to become inspired communities because they need to be very sensitive and responsive to the needs of their stakeholders, particularly their coworkers and, within this group, to those coworkers who are ascending to the fourth level of Maslow’s pyramid of needs: the ‘fourth-echelon climbers’. What this means practically is that the proactive approach requires top management to come up with a corporate value proposition that is multifaceted. It must meet the needs of fourth-echelon climbers as well as of those internal stakeholders located on the other, lower levels of Maslow’s pyramid. At the same time, however, it must inspire all of its external stakeholders to move up towards sustainability. The complexity of the task is reflected upon by Unilever’s co-Chairman, Morris Tabaksblat:

Companies are made up of people. Within Unilever there are some 300,000 employees of more than 100 nationalities. All those employees communicate with one another, influence one another and help shape the company culture. A company like Unilever with such a richly varied workforce needs fundamental common values if it is to be, and continue to be successful. … When there are so many employees, it is a given fact that many of them are members of or give donations to Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Médécins sans Frontières or animal welfare organizations. But our employees also include deeply religious Muslims who might be intensely upset by things that we, for instance, here in The Netherlands, consider acceptable. For example, the way in which references can be made to sexuality in Dutch advertising is not acceptable in predominantly Islamic countries.1