Stephen Jordan of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Business Civic Leadership Center sent out a helpful email to friends and colleagues today. He wrote that groups have shown a lot of determination not to cave into the distress of the current financial crisis. Instead, many in the corporate citizenship community are trying to accelerate recovery, minimize damage, and be constructive.
Stephen offered a typology of the issues that the CSR community might address in the coming weeks in response to the financial crisis:
I. How to Build Trust (Ethics)
o How to increase confidence in “Wall Street” (financial capital)?
o How to increase confidence in senior business management?
o How to address social concerns about business in a recession or times of hardship?
o How to sort through the responsibilities of various stakeholders to the system?
II. How to Minimize Harm (Public Policy)
o How to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the poor (or on social services)?
o How to avoid class warfare on the one hand and systemic, entrenched inequality on the other, and other “us versus them” effects
o How to avoid damaging “Main Street” (small and medium-sized businesses, local communities, etc.)
III. How to Accelerate the Future (Operations)
o How to promote enlightened capitalism (i.e. maximize benefits over a 20 year period, as opposed to next quarter)
o How to expand the benefits of capitalism for the bottom of the pyramid
o How to develop non-traditional “blended value” social and economic institutions and public-private partnerships to address social goals and reduce poverty
IV. How to Proceed (Goal identification and Strategy)
o How to make business part of the solution
o How to distinguish between normative (morally good to do), operational, and legal imperatives and obligations for investors, boards, senior managers, regulators, customers, and other interested parties
o How to distinguish between “good” and “bad” capitalism
o How to define the roles and responsibilities of the public and private sectors better in order to maximize public welfare
o Who should do what?