Most of us in sustainability (CSR, citizenship, social change, activism etc) are shell shocked. Donald Trump is the President-elect for the United States of America. I am not going to tell how how sick that is and how sick that makes me feel. What I want to know – what are we in this space going to do about it? It’s time to look inward.
Author: Henk Campher
Companies keep talking about how they kick puppies (think: burning coal or selling cigarettes) and then expect us to love them for it, says 3p columnist Henk Campher.
We in sustainability or even broader strategy or communications might not all be in the financial 1 percent (but close or very fast getting there), but we are almost all part of the intellectual 1 percent. That 1 percent who believe we see all the problems of the world very clearly and the answers almost as clearly.
Some of these “trends” are stale (old and not new), and some of them are just pale (not going to happen). Hey, I even threw in a few ideas on how we can stop making these silly trend predictions.
When it comes to climate change negotiations, we’ve been repeating the same thing since 2009: We have the science to show we need to do something serious right now, but treat it like fiction when it comes to the actual agreement and commitments. Rinse and repeat. The life of climate change. Loud voices make big claims, but nothing will happen to slow down what is killing us.
Businesses somehow lost their reason to exist, and now people are starting to look for the values they share with your company because it is mostly absent. Back in the “good old days,” it wasn’t a question to ask. It wasn’t something to look for. It was right there – expressed by the handshake of the store owner, in the active role that a business took to ensure that community’s overall welfare and progression.
It seems as if every company is finding a few extra spare pennies to show us how deeply they care about their workers. Yes, it is time to rejoice! Minimum wages are hitting new highs! Let’s just back off slowly and take a closer look at this. Is it really all that good?
I know you are going to be flooded and fooled by a million pieces of cool new trends for 2015. Yawn … How about trends we want to see the end of in 2015?
Let’s go back to the beginning of almost every company that exists today: You can find a clear social mission at the heart of why they started as a business. And then so many lost their way.
I’ve worked with many companies on stakeholder engagement and help many of them understand activists and activist campaigning — and they are as guilty of getting it wrong as the activists themselves. No, I take that back. They get it wrong more often than activists. Let me share one thing that every company consistently gets wrong: Activists do it for the money.
Activists play a crucial role in society. However, we do need to call them out when we smell something wrong. And there is one major lie that always gets to me when I hear it. The “let’s engage” lie. No, you don’t really want to engage.
We’ve seen trust in business continue to drop radically. Yes, it seems unfair that business gets targeted, but is it really that unfair? Do business show true leadership on these issues, or do they dance around the tough challenges?