with decreasing income and rising prices, with foreclosures and joblessness, environmental disasters and global warming.... it can be difficult to hold on to the optimism of a better world.
but this past week i had a rare glimpse into what a better world might actually look like. at a conference under the auspices of Business Social Responsibility: RedefiningLeadership, i witnessed 1000 + companies attempting and in many cases succeeding, in leveraging their enormous spheres of influence and powerful brands to bring about social change. the fact that i was skeptical of the likes of pepsi and GE, chevron and microsoft as they sat there describing clean water initiatives in africa and communication inroads in india, is a testimate to just how dire our situation has become. we have lost our faith in government and are desperately looking for a leader. the irony that such a leader might turn out to be one of the very beasts that got us here in the first place...wasn't lost.
so is there a magic pill?
or is this just a massive ploy by c-level execs to preemptively greenwash the future while hoping we forget about a past riddled by decades of unrestrained consumption and greed? it remains to be seen. but whatever the true motive, it has us talking and the change is positive.
so what does this better world look like? it looks like a world where companies don't just take from the people's and communities where they operate but give back as well. it looks like a world where corporations refuse to turn a blind eye on issues like modern day slavery, unsafe working conditions and fair wages but acknowledge the very success of their business is inherently tied to the people bringing their products to fruition. it looks like a world with clean air, green forests, fresh water and blue oceans and one in which corporations understand that their survival is tenuously tied to this place we call home not only today but also tomorrow.
it seems it is no longer enough to do good on our own time but return to work and think only of profit and shareholder value. it is necessary that we urge our corporations to be better leaders and stewards of responsibility. and in doing so, corporations aren't just throwing money away or frivolously focusing attention on issues not relevant to their business...in this age of hyper-transparency acts of social responsibility serve to protect brands, attract greater talent, retain innovative employees and improving supply chains operations. and what CEO doesn't like a win-win?
hugs ~ mrs m
images found here