Notes on Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility has become a main topic on many business environments, i think it’s only behind making money and ecology.

Many people that has access to a relatively privileged life  like me, many of my friends and almost for sure you, also wonders on how to help and payback to society.

After many hours of thought and lessons learned I came up to the following conclusion. Even if we can do donation or projects like www.never-more.org the very first line of action is: “”Work at a good job and do it good”".  With this I mean  that the best way to be socially responsible as a corporation or contribute to society as an individual is by their daily work. If what you for living helps society then you help while you work. If by the contrary you do something nocive to make your living it doesn’t mater how many good things you do afterwards you wont be even making even.

Well the following is an extract about the topic, I wrote, on a email to the organizers of a wonderful innovation contest at which I went about a year and a half ago.


For what I listen on the conferences your facing “Companies Social Responsibility” in the same way big corporations do. This is give: respect and good salaries to your employees, promote donations and activities with the community, but only from other companies that are socially responsible”, etc.

That’s fantastic there’s a huge step from nothing to that, those are things that most certainly be done. But doing so it’s easy to avoid the main subject. The big corporations may avoid the main topic because it’s against their immediate business, but organizations like YABT or the OEAS may do so just because you are following the big corporations lead on the matter.

So what’s this main topic? The main topic is what does a company does, which is its business, it’s propose.

I have to confess I haven’t read a single word about “Company’s social responsibilities”. But I have thought about the topic since I was a kid many years before trying to establish my first business or I heard the term “socially responsible company”. Common good has obsessed me since then. Despite my lack of reading I have tough thousands of hours on the topic and I do have seen lot’s conferences, and TV shows about it.

There are many ways of human’s organizations a companies are a particular ones that have as base principle make money, but good companies usually have another objective. I bet you all know those famous words mission and vision that must be on very business plan. Well that objective or mission must be the very first step on Social Responsibility. A company must devote to their mission. To be social responsible there’s no need of foundations or gathering the employees to do charity it’s more than enough to do a good a thing, doing it by doing good and trade it making fair deals. Let me explain:

A company may decide to provide:







Things that benefit society one way or another, this are good things.

For example now I do web systems, I konow that a well done web system will help people find info fast and more effectively, so I’ll be helping society even if I charge for the program. I’m doing something that helps society.

Depending on the twisted mind of each entrepreneur or business man even things like making cigarettes or as wrong as it may seems making weapons may be seen as good. Good and bad people may use phrases that for me are a complete mistaken. I’m protecting freedom and justice OR guns don’t kill, people do- may come around, to justify anything as good. It may be the case that they pronouncer’s are actually good and convinced people.

Here is where it comes good doing theme. Ok let’s say that as I saw in conference in the Monterrey Worlds forum a year or so ago. British American Tobacco what’s to be a socially responsible company so they give found to the Social Responsible Companies foundation (or something like that) they do give good payment to their employees and they even pay computers for local schools. But………. come on, …. they are selling a soft but after all very lethal and toxic drug. Their main activity damages society, we just need to check the deaths related to smoking to notice it. So we should tell them: You a Social Responsible Company (please excuse me for the language) mi ASS.

But let’s be more flexible and we let pass an argument like: We are actually only fulfilling the needs of those who have chosen to smoke and we benefit them because they prefer to live the pleasure of smoking than not taking the health risks that it implies. So in a strange and relative way someone can say they are making some people happier and therefore doing a good thing. Ok but where there’s no escape is on the doing it by dosing good part.

A socially responsible company would not increase the number of addictive substances on their cigarettes, nor they would do all possible things to associate cigarettes with getting laid on the consumers mind nor…….. Their efforts should focus on maintain the flavor and pleasure of cigarettes reducing its harm but o surprise they actually do all the way around. So it doesn’t matter what other things they do they are not a socially responsible company.

Institutes and writers that are financed by these companies don’t talk about this do a good thing and doing it doing good because their sponsors don’t want them to (and those precise words are mine). But if we avoid this thinking we are just fooling around and wasting resources.

SMEs can bas good or bad intentioned as big companies but you have the chance to look at their missions and behavior and promote those that will really benefit the society by merely doing what they want to do. A company with a good mission must only focus on doing their business good to help the society. Think for example about all the advantages you have in your cell phone the next time to send a SMS. The better the cell Phone company works the better prices coverage and reliability their cell phones will have and the more people will be able to communicate easily. We don’t want them using money on another good cause, communication is more than enough.

Filed under: Education, SMEs