The Question of Ethical Integrity and Social Reponsibility in a Startup
Business Ethics Matter
There is a reason that social responsibility has bee getting more and more attention in the corporate world and across some of the top business schools globally. Many will simply say that the whole thing is a trend, that it’s nothing more than the next wave of the “in” and that as a whole CSR is just a form of greenwashing one’s corporate activities.
These people are for the most part wrong. Given that greenwashing does occur, take BP for example, they retained the “BP” but re-branded themselves beyond petroleum – a name that inspires and gives hope, however, those close to the company, or for that matter anyone who wants to download and read their annual statement will see that only a small percentage of their revenues gets invested in new and clean energies.
The bright side is that CSR and business ethics as a whole are on the rise, ethical behaviour and operational transparency are only the first steps, and for the most part have been growing. A baseline study conducted by the UNDP on the Study of CSR Practices in New EU Member States and Candidate Countries shows a healty understanding and movement towards better overall CSR. But is it enough?
We say no, but it’s progress, and progress is a good thing. But the truth is that any established company will take time to re-align itself with any new(er) type practices, and at heart this may mean a change to the company culture which by no means is an easy thing to achieve for anyone.
The Question of CSR Implementation
With startups though this is a different story, since startups take on the cutlure of their founders, it then depends on those founders to create companies which are socially responsible. But what is CSR? By definition it is known as corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship, responsible business, sustainable responsible business (SRB), or corporate social performance, is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. Ideally, CSR policy would function as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby business would monitor and ensure its adherence to law, ethical standards, and international norms.
But it’s more than that, a few weeks back we showed a video on how Entrepreneurs shape and change the world, this is it, by taking a new idea, whatever it is, we can simply and easily add an aspect of CSR into the business model. Why, it directly affects your bottom line, consumers will be more inclined to purchase products from companies that they believe are socially responsible, i.e. Starbucks + Shade Grown + Fair Trade Coffee.
The question of ethical integrity should never be a question, but should be incorporated into your business from the onset. Why? It’s quite simple, people trust honest businesses, and honest businesses tend to do better in the long run, but don’t take out word for it, here’s a video – in a Did you know? – format that quickly sums up where we’re headed with CSR, and why your stakeholders will want you as an enterprise to actively employ socially responsible practices in your day to day business.