“Motivating Corporations To Do Good” on the lead page of The New York Times Business Section today will likely spark wide-ranging comments and spirited debate. So here’s an opening salvo.
“…there is a case to be made that attending to workers’ rights or environmental degradation might help the business in the long term,” Mr. Porter notes. But, unfortunately, he leaves that nugget and moves on to less supportive observations.
However, the prevailing ethos of today’s corporate social responsibility (aka sustainable development) business model is, indeed, long-term sustainability. And integral to that model is the realization that addressing the interests of all of the company’s stakeholders can contribute to profitability. The 8,000 (sic) member companies of the United Nations Global Compact and the emerging cohort of financial/accounting institutions of the International Integrated Reporting Council manifest this commitment.
To be sure, as Mr. Porter avers, companies must become much more transparent in all of their operations. And they are: “Customers, investors and employees” he reports, “know more about what businesses do around the world and can exert influence to change their behavior”.
Mr. Porter and The New York Times have done us all a great service in re-opening this seminal subject. Let the comments flow!