Development Crossing

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability

I just read an opinion piece in USA Today, God Goes to the Office (http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2010/02/column-god-goes-to-the-offic...). While it was an interesting read, it could not be more off base. The results of defining business as solely materialistic have created an inherently exploitative system only seeking to maximize short-term profit while minimizing corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Last week Mark Parker, the CEO of Nike, announced the sharing of 400 of Nike’s patents through GreenXchange to their competitors in order to spread sustainable manufacturing know-how to the shoe and apparel industries. His reason for doing so is because “it’s the right thing to do.” This is a spiritual act of moral courage the business world needs more of. While it’s true that specific religious doctrine have no place in large pluralistic businesses, I can also report that in working with global business leaders for over 25 years, there is a universal spirituality/morality that is at the root of our inner longing to matter more than our personal net worth. When societies have tried to separate business ethics from spirituality, the results are always catastrophic.

Will Marre
Author of Save the World and Still Be Home For Dinner (Capital Books)
http://www.realeadership.com

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