‘Business’ inclusion in Social Problems

Today’s post is to support comments back to Michael E. Porter who presented a TED lecture on the topic ‘Why business can be good at solving social problems’.  You can see the Lecture at http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_porter_why_business_can_be_good_at_solving_social_problems.html

This was an excellent positioning of the role that Business needs to play in the solution to global social problems.

My response to Michael Porter on Twitter was too short so I wanted to get my Business feelings out on the subject for comment.

After viewing the Lecture you will I am sure be impassioned by Michael’s build to a point of view that Businesses are the solution to fix the world social and geographic problems.  My comments are much to do about the other enabling considerations to make this happen.

There are a great number of CSR programmes across the Small to Large corporations who try hard to involve themselves in the known social effects that the world suffers and there is also a huge amount of funding and volunteering programmes where Companies support NGO’s in making things happen. However, most of these would be regarded as events, activities and programmes, that at some point have an end to them.  Put to one side the carbon emissions controls that large companies are investing in, the charitable programmes do have an end.  They may be end-on-end, but they are not continuous. So aid and support to la Local or Global concern gets there now but in the turn of events at a Company it could be lessened or re-focussed.

The challenge for Business, following on from Michael’s key points, is that we need to find ways in which Companies take an active role in the end to end delivery of its products throughout the value chain and to play both an economic and a social role as this is happening. We need to ensure that all parts that flow into the gradual increase in ‘value’ also receive back from it in a ‘social value’ way so that we can all live with the basic standards, health, wealth and freedom.

Government’s do play their role but we need to raise the level of governance away from wasteful and irrelevant in-flighting, such that we have seen with the USA Shutdown, to a more productive coordinator of efforts around the world with Business being the sponsor.

Businesses also have the Talent that can help people at the far reaches of a supply chain to sustain a living or work through problems with knowledge which is taken for granted in the Corporate Boardroom, but would be life-changing in other parts of society.

Maybe one way to consider CSR would be to treat it as a COST OF SALE rather than SG&A, so it gets considered as a marginal cost of doing business?

The lecture really was a different angle to CSR and hopefully the start of a new regime of Change.  Thank you Michael.

 

 

About David Dugdale
Business Transformation Consultant

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