One thing I've been thinking about is a way for people to pool resources to become one large, activist, shareholder. Obviously it's nearly impossible for a single shareholder to effect change in a company's direction, but if individuals could buy into something then they could eventually become part of a majority stake. There would need to be some sort of third party to aggregate and manage this group of shareholders. And companies would still need a way to measure impact and profitability (however that's defined), just over the long term.
I agree with Sipra. I don't have any links to exact statistics, but the main barrier to long term thinking is that companies have to answer to shareholders who want profits. Some companies, like Facebook, are trying to maintain strategic independence in the face of shareholder impatience, but it seems like a long, hard, uphill battle. And Facebook does see itself has having a social mission (of sorts). So how about businesses who don't necessarily see themselves as having a social mission? What benefit would they see in longer-term thinking? I'm not saying it's *not* beneficial - on the contrary, I wish more businesses would focus on the long term. But as long as a business has to answer to shareholders who want profits, it seems hard to convince to run their business differently.
Robert Reich's book Supercapitalism talks a lot about this too, and he has a really good chapter on this shareholder dilemma.
Even though, as Ashley mentioned earlier, this challenge doesn't not include a charitable component, there's something to the business models of TOMS, Warby Parker, and even Everlane! The point here is that, at least in the retail space, it's possible to make previously expensive items very affordable. Take Warby Parker glasses which are $95. Similar eyeglasses in the optometrist's office could be upwards of $300. Or Everlane, with transparency into the production process is offering $50 t-shirts for $15.
I think at the very least that considering business models like this allow companies to save money in one area, that they can spend elsewhere, OR rethink their business model to reconsider an area where they might be comfortable taking risks towards creating more social benefit.