We are into February already and with it comes a new dawn, or does it? Brexit is done and we are now in a holding pattern until the trade deal is agreed, so it seems to be business as usual. But I do not believe this is the case as I think that business, with or without Brexit, is about to undergo a massive shift in its approach, one that will be essential for them to not just survive, but to maintain long term profitability.
The change is “Social Responsibility”.
For a number of years there has been a ground swell in the belief that businesses, small and large, need to do more to support their community, both locally and further afield, this has been demonstrated by the impact of environmental change that has been brought to the forefront of the media.
There have been many different definitions for Social Responsibility, possibly the most recognised being “CSR”, Corporate Social Responsibility. This implies that it is something that only large businesses should adopt when in reality it is everyone. I prefer the definition “Collective Social Responsibility” this suggests that it should be everyone that is involved, a sentiment I strongly believe in.
Over the past few weeks there have some indications that the corporate world is finally taking climate change seriously, a key element of social responsibility. Microsoft have said they want to be “whole life” carbon negative by 2030 and Tesco proactively getting rid of multipack plastic packaging, even though their customers didn’t want it. Yet there are still those corporate organisations who do not believe that they should be driving the agenda, with Coca Cola leading the way. They are still refusing to get rid of single use plastic bottles when there are alternatives out there, their argument is that their customers still want them. But their customers don’t know what they don’t know and this would be a great opportunity for Coke to show they are genuine market leaders and not followers and show their customers that they can still enjoy the Coke experience but in a different way.
Many people believe that it is governments that have to drive change and whilst I believe they do, I also believe that the major corporates have the power to facilitate that change, in so doing to force governments to make the legislative change they need to, not only to protect the environment, but to ensure that our society has the social and community support it needs.
Those businesses that do drive change and are prepared to provide solutions for their customers will be the ones that are successful in the long run. Those that don’t will be the ones that have to change in order to reduce their losses.