–Women Economic Forum Bangalore-
Last week I had the immense privilege to be part of the first digital Edition of the Women Economic Forum in Bangalore, India. One of the most dynamic cities in the world becomes the host of an impressive event and an awesome digital platform that allows as to connect, exchange, and above all learn from a new way of delivering our message. I was particularly interested in CSR because I believe -and work- on innovative approaches to the current globalization model.
3 years ago, CSR becomes the great revelation of a new wave of doing business within innovation, nowadays is not that anymore and has loosened the very essence of its creation: full integration of the private sector and society-.
If we put into perspective it doesn’t seem that 30 years has transformed CSR into a revolutionary tool, at least not in terms of goals .Therefore, it is more about marketing, not legislation that paradoxically contributes to a growing trend of surviving crises by unethical practices, transforming CSR into a great philosophical project instead of an effective tool that impacts business´s performance globally.
We get into these conclusions based on two aspects: the fall of the economy within COVID19 and the achievement of the SDGs.
A global pandemic supposes an impact of the economy, there is no way to think differently, although not all the countries have been impacted equally and the role of the private sector plays a key role in that. During the lockdown the consumption has been reduced substantially and that is a fact that impact equally, however, there are countries with powerful CSR practices that have made of it an opportunity within the capacity to re-invent themselves and quickly offer adapted services to a new shape of delivering services and goods. Besides, the public sector has shown its strengths or weakness in facing crises and work on a joint action basis –that it is much more than subsidies but true partnerships-.
It becomes more evident with a new agent of change: Sustainable Development Goals, a powerful framework of building resilience from within and from a global dimension. It was easy to forecast that those corporations aligned with the CSR principles were in a better position to meet the goals, however is not and most of them, including the one with a remarkable work on ethical practices are failing to comply with these “new” codes. The principles are the same and now get exposure: the key obstacle does not rely on its measure but their commitment.
From the old perspective of Triple Bottom Line we are now facing the urgent need to jump into a Triple Empowerment Line: citizens, consumers and alliances.
Citizens do not have to become activists and the claims to the public sector must be done from empowered positions.
The political leaders are representatives of their needs and rights and are not there only to implement partisan agendas that exposure to be ineffective and do not boost fast responses.
Consumers should not be submitted to the process but being an essential part of corporations as active members that contribute with their consumption preferences to keep sustainability, and not just profitability.
Finally, the capacity to make strategic alliances supposes holistic approaches towards synergies: public-private sector and not isolated deals that do not create an impact. The same spirit of “global action” is the one that also may lead the national process with the private sector in the sense of taking into the stage all actors, actions and strategies. Certainly if we get to this point , -like some countries that have already achieved -we will on a better position to minimise crises and be prepared to live resiliently within uncertainty. Going deeper into the interpretation of SDG 16 “partnerships for the goal”. Synergies enable an environment for business that in the end creates better resilience in times of crises.
CSR for the near future is not about Corporate Social Responsibility but Global Social Responsibility that merges with the public sector and civil society. Towards a Triple Empowerment Line..