CSR & Business: A love story?
What’s a guy have to do, you know? He fixes your car, charms your boss, connects you with powerful new friends and makes you feel good for being you. Why, then, are you still with the sweaty, lazy guy that won’t pay his rent?
That’s how it seems to me when businesses postpone investments in sustainable practices and cling to traditional, costly business models, especially during times of economic stress. Will more businesses reach out to embrace the promise sustainability or will they continue to believe that the status quo offers them the greatest security?
Sustainability just wants to bring its love and passionate contribution to the business world.. no strings.. no baggage.. a little upfront cost here and there but, look at the return on the investment! Despite what should be love match, and despite a growing number of smart business leaders flirting with CSR plans, much of the business world seems unmoved.
The daily reports of economic pain bring with them the need for smarter, more efficient, business practices. I am not alone in feeling that sustainable business plans and commitments provide a framework and inspiration for success in this difficult economy and beyond. In pure black and white business terms, a business that wastes more profits less. As one example, Sarah Fister Gale, a contributor to GreenBiz, just wrote an article showcasing some companies who are benefiting from sustainable business practices despite the difficult economy: http://www.greenbiz.com/feature/2009/01/19/green-still-means-go.
Clearly, much of the business world is dealing with drama too consuming to initiate even simple improvements, much less a re-tool of their business model and operations. For those that are still able, it’s my hope that they can return the love offered by a strong CSR plan and start living the more profitable, more meaningful life that awaits them.
What have you seen? Will the sustainability revolution fall victim to the economic crisis? Can CSR be an economic savior? Will traditional businesses see value in a truly integrated sustainability plan?