For the moment, never mind which countries are #1, #16 and number #132 on the new Social Progress Index http://bit.ly/1ikbPsc . Our question today, people, is what can business do – what should it do – to help make life more livable in the countries where it operates.
The answer, increasingly, is “partner” – and is some cases, partner with formerly “strange bedfellows”. Recent comments by Barry Salzberg, CEO of Deloitte Touche Tomatsu, are relevant: “First, we must increase collaboration. No single sector or organization can solve these issues alone. And private and public collaboration works … Responsibility for society no longer falls solely on government. Business leaders offer a unique skill set, which when combined with those of the public sector and NGOs provide a powerful and innovative mix.”
The new Social Progress Index, developed by Social Progress Imperative, Washington D.C., measures social progress data, country by country, on outcomes in such critical areas as clean water, electricity, education and opportunity. SPI defines social progress as “the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives, and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential.”
The mission tracks with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals program now reaching maturity. And it foreshadows the UN’s Post-2015 Development Agenda. Next week, the UN General Assembly and Economic and Social Council (ESOSOC) will examine that agenda in the context of “the role of partnerships.”
For the cynics – in and out of business – who still question whether business has responsibility and accountability in such vast and complex aspects of society, we offer this assessment by Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of The World Economic Forum: “Since companies depend on global development, which in turn relies on stability and increased prosperity, it is in their direct interest to help improve the state of the world.”
Oh, yes — back to the top of this blog: #1 New Zealand, #16 United States, # 132 Chad.