The Real Social Responsibility of Business
On September 13 in 1970, economist Milton Friedman published his highly influential essay titled The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its Profits in The New York Times. Friedman argued that corporate executives should stop worrying about paying high wages, protecting the environment and that they could better help society by maximising the value of their companies.
Fifty years later, it’s clear that this way of thinking is no longer viable.
It’s now 2020 and the world is currently dealing with a global health pandemic, economic crisis and climate change. Over a million Uyghurs are currently locked up in concentration camps in the Chinese autonomous region of Xinjiang and in the US we’ve seen protesters clashing with police over racial injustice.
Did you know 26 individuals own more wealth than half of humanity while over 300 million people remain unemployed. This just isn’t sustainable.
It’s time for change, which is why on September 13th this year, Imperative 21 and its partners including B Lab, The B Team, CECP and Conscious Capitalism came together to call for a RESET of our economic system and create a more ethical form of capitalism.
So how do we build a more sustainable future at a global scale?
We need to reimagine and redesign the foundations of economic system so that it not only works for us today, but for the long-term.
Anywise values a society that is not only concerned about our connections to each other but with our wider community and our living planet. We believe that the businesses that will thrive over the coming decades are those that innovate to think of ways that we can tackle the biggest problems facing our future. Look at the successful businesses during this pandemic, the most successful have thrived by solving immediate issues at scale.
We value leaders that aren’t obsessed with maximising profits for shareholders, but rather recognise that they have a responsibility to make a change. Whether that’s to improve the rate at which a project can deliver, or structural changes to ease administration in a company, or racial or health inequalities, climate change or any other cause, seeing how they can impact their team, community and planet for the better.
Public policy changes are required to make real change. While attempting to appeal to the consciences of CEOs may work in some businesses, to achieve a decent society we need better public policy. Anywise will form and express reasoned opinion on sustainable business. It will continue to promote the vibrant SME community and encourage all levels of Government and industry to buy local, from family owned, Australian owned SME.
Harnessing the power of collaboration
Systemic change requires collaboration which is why sharing ideas, innovation and resources is imperative to move the world forward in a positive way. The Imperative 21 coalition represents over 72,000 businesses across 80 countries and 150 different industries, which means there are millions of people who are keen to have their voices heard. This cooperative advantage allows our society to move forward to set standards, raise expectations and create shared prosperity. Together we can realise our full potential.
Anywise wants to be part of that change, which is why since 2018, we set aside 20% of our profit to go towards causes that will benefit our community and planet. Innovation and collaboration has always been part of our DNA, which is why we think more businesses should join this call for change. Now is the time to RESET our economic system. There is a lot of interest in 2020 from businesses in making (and marketing) a new social consciousness. While we have been pushing this barrow for quite a while though, it goes to show that it is never too late to change. The time is now. Do one thing today that provides a local social impact.
If you’d like to know more, click here.