Corporate Social Responsibility v Corporate Social Justice. What’s in a name?
A lot – if it re-focuses the corporation on having a positive impact on society and fundamentally changes the way a company operates.
The recent article titled ‘We’re entering the age of corporate social justice’ by Lily Zheng in the Harvard Business review notes the need for companies to change, to have a positive impact, to not implement programs solely for marketing purposes and provides some guidance for corporations on how to do this. It is worth a read.
In 2015, the United Nations, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted that provides a roadmap for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. These SDGs focuses on the most significant human problems ranging from alleviation of poverty, zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, affordable and clean energy , quality education, gender equality, sustainable cities and communities, clean water and sanitation, responsible consumption and production, and so on.
If an organization wants to have a positive impact, a worthwhile first step would be to critically review and assess how its current programs contribute to one or more of the United Nations, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). If its programs are contributing, that is great. If not, the challenge for the organization is then to identify ‘what impact is the organization seeking from the program or part thereof, whose interest is it serving and when these answers are known, whether the organisation would be willing to be open and transparent as to those impacts and interests’.
If the corporation is not willing to be open and transparent as to the impact and interests, this is also useful information for the organisation to have about itself.