Quite a few folks ask me this question – whenever we have a conversation around a social investment, mentorship or social grant opportunity. Having an accomplished career, good health, caring family and lot more opportunities to thrive… makes many executives in business find a good retirement like contentedness on the job, early enough!
I think equality in this world will remain a distant dream until we evolve business to define it’s purpose as wider than and beyond profit! Just by contributing a day’s salary to the corporate sponsored CSR program or a charity of choice, we do no good beyond creating a closely guarded surplus of funds with no clear intention to solve a serious social issue. Sporadic initiatives, market facing, brand building programs will eat a few pies of this in the context of creating a corporate citizenship.
Compliance and associated regulatory issues is another inevitable force claiming attention of boards and CEOs towards the social aspect of their businesses. But if the fundamental principle of operation is not an inclusive one – beyond profit, all CSR programs have very limited impact.
Any social activity that does not permanently upgrade the situation to a better state, can safely be treated as a tentative experiment! Donating a few books, used computers, medical supplies etc are temporary fixes towards creating a hope but not a route to permanent change of educated kids or eliminated/cured disease. While these temporary fixes are essential, the impact CSR programs can create is much more larger than these. Imagine what wonders one can do when every employee of a 100000 people corporate contribute Re.1 per month! There is a corpus of Rs.100000 being built every month!
Employing this strength of money coupled with the business acumen and technology expertise – into working on serious projects that are aimed towards creating income generation tools that permanently remove millions of people out of poverty.
Business coordinates the actions of all employees to solve problems everyday. In the name of business we create technology networks, products & services, distribution channels – around the planet, relocate plants, extract oil from deep sea beds, transport materials through out the globe with finest precision… etc
Creating an unbeatable combination of business expertise and change activism at heart, can solve human problems. Let’s take one dimension of poverty. It seems over 800 million people go to bed without having a meal every day/night. Isn’t this solvable right away? We just need to distribute surplus knowledge, funds and food more effectively. Who else can do this better than the best of the businesses – in global supply chain, technology firms, and the rest?
Corporations should revisit their CSR programs and couple the money power with their true business and etch a winning & sustainable social impact. Individuals from business houses should lend their expertise and heart to make a remarkable social activity stay focused on transformation than a knee-jerk attempt to claim tax rebates or declare satisfaction of donating to a noble cause…
Joining or supporting a social enterprise glued into creating a permanent change for better for its audience is the simplest way to practice change activism for every corporate and an individual….
What do you think?