A new survey asks the American public, "Is it important for corporations to be socially responsible?" Less than half of those surveyed understand the question. What does that mean for Corporate America?
What does ‘socially responsible’ mean?
• Of the 45% who say the know the meaning … – 20% say ‘giving back to local community.’ – 19% say ‘self regulation and accountability.’ – 17% say ‘helping people.’ – 12% say ‘ethics and honesty’
The problem with saying, ‘We
are socially responsible.’ • No one will believe you. • It’s an impossible standard. – U.S. corporations are by design and by law sociopathic. – The CEO can have only one concern: The interest of shareholders.
The Skilling Defense • ‘I
always acted in the best interests of our shareholders.’ – Jeff Skilling, president of Enron, testifying before Congress, 2002
A different approach: Responsiveness •
Companies ‘undermine the public’s understanding of capitalism by claiming to be ‘responsible’ when I’d rather they claimed to be ‘responsive.’ – Dr. Peter Sandman, The Synergist, Dec. 2005
‘Responsible’ vs. ‘Responsive’ Factory A
• ‘We’ve stopping polluting the stream because we love fish more than profits.’ Factory B • ‘Here’s why we stopped polluting the stream …’ 1. Our lawyers 2. Our regulators 3. The activists 4. Our neighbors, families and employees Which one do you believe?