istockphoto.com

Our perspective

Since 2001, Business Respect has promoted the view of corporate social responsibility as being about the role of business in society. Since so many different takes on this exist, it is worth being clear what our position is.

We are pro-business, pro-responsibility. Businesses are a part of society, and their success is tied to the health of society.

Businesses need to adapt to rapidly changing expectations on them by society. As Darwin said, the species most likely to survive are not the strongest, or the smartest, but the most adaptable to change.

Businesses need to be successful first and foremost. Losing money in the name of social responsibility or ethics is not responsible - the damage done through the job losses, and the loss of the company's products and services, will far outweigh the good that was done.

That said, more businesses go bust making mistakes in how they pursue profit than go bust in trying to provide benefit to society. It's worth remembering that.

Our position is pragmatic, not ideological. We are always interested in what is the best argument, the best evidence. If a good argument, or new evidence, appears which disproves a previously held position, we change the position.

We do not, however, change the values - which are that business has a positive role to play in promoting the health of society, which goes beyond 'business as usual'.

We believe the issues are too important not to debate. Weak arguments or practices are criticised because we need stronger ones. We do no favours by lining up to support something that doens't work because it is about 'our side' vs 'their side'.

Subscribe Now

 

The Business Respect email newsletter has been produced since 2001 to give news and commentary on CSR worldwide

 

See the archive of past issues

Special Feature

photo of cash

Social responsibility and finance - on the precipice

In a recent article, the BBC's economics editor Robert Peston highlighted the fact that in 2012 the chances are that the economy - punch drunk as it is from the various flavours of debt crisis it has been pummelled with over the course of the year - will be hit by the collapse of a major bank and / or government.