By Clare Melford, CEO, IBLF
The following comment is in response to Shanaz Musafer’s piece on corporate social responsibility on the BBC website (Corporate social responsibility: Measuring its value, 22 October 2012).
In her piece on measuring its value, Shanaz Musafer presents corporate social responsibility as an industry. The reality is that corporate social responsibility, practiced properly, needs to be embedded throughout an organisation’s operations. It should not be a separate industry, but industry’s core business.
This is why the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) works directly with CEOs and Board level executives to drive change across their companies and networks. We seek to drive widespread and effective collaboration between civil society, government and companies to redefine growth to be sustainable. Businesses that are not socially and environmentally responsible are not sustainable in the long-term.
Furthermore, many businesses partner and share the proceeds of economic growth more equitably. To reduce the economic inequality that ultimately results in social instability, forward-thinking businesses look to include the very poorest in their value chains. They partner with non-government organisations, for example those working with smallholder farmers, to ensure these farmers can improve yields and hence revenue. None of this is counter to the economic success of business as it creates a high-quality, shock-resistant supply chain.
A sustainable business should be able to increase revenues and/or reduce costs. Companies that do good do better.