Beyond the question of ethical behaviour is a larger question that companies face on a daily basis: what is my social responsibility as a corporate citizen?
Companies have a responsibility to many groups – customers, employees who count on continued employment, shareholders who expect ROI and a host of other entities like suppliers, government and creditors.
There are 2 sides to the market exchange: marketing ethics and consumer ethics.
CSR and Sales
The contemporary selling process is built on the simple premise of creating value for the customer where the sales team actively seeks to understand clients’ needs and develop an almost personal relationship. However some business development managers, sales personnel seek shortcuts to success and on the other hand, customers put pressure on the account managers for their own benefit.
Many believe that the core purpose of businesses is to create and sell products to satisfied customers. There are ethical issues companies deal with as they interact with customers and vendors. Inevitably there will be complex issues, and much of the time there is a great deal riding on the salesperson’s decision on how to handle customers’ requests and closing a deal.
Getting it wrong results in tangible losses including lost shareholder wealth & thousands of layoffs, intangible losses are trust, reputation etc.
In putting together the list of 100 best corporate citizens, Corporate Responsibility magazineranks the following areas of importance with weighted index as follows:
· Environment (19.5%)
· Employee Relations (19.5%)
· Climate Change (16.5%)
· Philanthropy (12.5%)
· Financial (9.0%)
· Governance (7.0%)
Pictured: Some of our team members on Bintan Island, Indonesia
A lot of what we do here at AS-Schneider affects the planet, it’s only natural that we choose to associate ourselves a passion project that involves saving and improving lives on the planet we profit from. With Safe Water Gardens, we are a proud member of a coalition of world-class universities and companies joining forces in a quest to provide a low-cost life-saving sanitation system for villagers in tropical Indonesia and tropical areas around the world.
Wastewater from toilets is typically released untreated in the environment because there is no infrastructure yet for sewage treatment. A sustainable and accessible solution takes the form of an individual wastewater treatment system per household, which we call “Safe Water Gardens” (SWG). Based on guidelines compiled by UNESCO in the wake of the Aceh tsunami, the system prevents diseases, and delivers safe drinking water and environmental benefits. It features 3 main components: a septic tank, a leach field (the garden), and a separate ceramic filter.
This wastewater-recycling system is a practical and economical biological solution that helps prevent diseases connected to polluted surface water, provide food security and positively impact the global environment.
In 2017 we hit a new milestone, where it marked the start of an international comprehensive scientific effort expanding with the aim to reach all Indonesian village households and streamline the system in terms of cost, performance and scalability.
Pictured: In 2017 – one of the first research gardens were built. Kneeling down is the proud new owner!
The research is led by TU/e, one of Europe’s best-known research universities, in collaboration with Indonesia’s oldest and largest university, Universitas Gadjah Mada, and Singapore’s leading university NUS. Several other industry partners like Loola, Bourouge,Musim Mas, BCSD and so on are working closely to help improve the lives of those unable to ask for help.
Pictured: Since then people of all ages get involved in local community projects building more SWGs
Ethical consumption – an important driver of the business case for CSR
Globalisation and glocalisation have amplified the scope, magnitude and complexity of social & environmental challenges, which means complicated CSR issues.
Leadership is tied intrinsically CSR, especially when considering the colossal failures of MNCs like Enron and others. Leaders have to enable critical dialogue, management provide processes for responding and finally, individuals on every level have to engage.
Ultimately, it is about cross sector social partnerships where interaction with customers and the broader industry is an ongoing conversation and more importantly, action.
For more information on Safe Water Gardens or to see how your company can provide support for families in need, please contact me here. Everyone has a part to play.