How did we (humans) mess it up so badly, that I can no longer sleep peacefully at night, knowing that the only life I know, will wither away on average at least four Earths (Ecological Footprint, WWF), just to maintain the creature comforts to which our Western culture have become accustomed. How can we bestow this legacy on our future generations, let alone consider the role of business and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in this hopelessly imbalanced equation? The first two lectures of this course have demonstrated that to truly develop an understanding of ethical, socially responsible and sustainable business practices, we must first look at ourselves.
This knowledge makes me wonder where does CSR start and end. Our small businesses grow into big businesses, our local businesses grow into our regional businesses; and our regional businesses grow into our national and international corporations. What comes first, the chicken or the egg? The small business or the corporation?
At what point do the theories and practice of CSR apply to business?
Do they have to be a corporation before ethics and CSR thinking and practice is embedded? I have learned that it starts from the very beginning, in the finest detail of business planning and must be entwined into our everyday business practices if we aim to grow all five forms of capital. Small businesses typically differ in their attention and approach based on lack of time and resources, compared to large corporations.
From little things, big things grow. I am certain that the seeds of sustainability for business, society and the planet start with individuals. We are never too young, too old, too inexperienced, too small, to learn and to make a difference. This knowledge is power, however “one size fits all” is not the solution.