Page 5: Working together
The media tends to portray the process of persuading firms to adopt responsible business practices as wholly confrontational: banners on factory chimneys and gallant little ships crossing the bows of industrial giants. Such stories bring issues to public attention, but they give a misleading impression of the major forces that are driving firms to change the way they operate.
People who believe in SRI as a way of influencing the behaviour of firms see last ditch measures as a clear sign that SRI has not yet penetrated far enough into business culture. Properly presented, SRI can appeal to enlightened self interest. Firms have a great interest in self preservation; they want to be around in 100 years from now and to be respected household names. Within an SRI approach, skilled professionals are able to demonstrate to companies that:
- By taking care of the environment in which they operate, and by being socially responsible, companies are increasing their own chances of survival
- By failing to look beyond their own short term requirements, businesses are putting their own futures at risk
- Projects that involve spending money more responsibly may seem expensive in the short term but can yield huge long term benefits, e.g. improving the education, housing and healthcare of employees in developing countries, can improve productivity and increase staff loyalty.