I read a really terrific article by Paul Klein in Forbes yesterday called Why Has Corporate Social Responsibility Stalled?
Particularly interesting to me was the following question Paul posed to Aron Cramer, president and CEO of BSR, Business for Social Responsibility:
Paul Klein: The vast majority of economic value is created by small and medium-sized businesses that don’t have the knowledge or resources to operationalize CSR. Is there an opportunity to engage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in CSR and deliver social results on a scale that dwarfs what we’re seeing now?
Aron Cramer: I think that SMEs have a huge role to play and it may be that they have even more interest in seeing the rules clarified and evened out. They have fewer resources with which to create their own solutions and they will be much better served if there aren’t big environmental problems, big human rights violations, massive poverty, lack of education, and lack of social infrastructure. Although SMEs don’t always have the resources to formalize sustainability, every business has employees, and thinking about how they are treated is crucially important. Every SME depends on having access to water and energy that is sustainable and clean so this is an issue of importance everywhere and also a big opportunity.
The midmarket is where the greatest impact can be made on societal causes.
This fact is the reason Business4Better was conceived. Lots of effort has previously been put to getting mega-corporations with big pockets to give back to the communities they affect. Now it’s time to address the fact that the biggest impact will come from the collective power and efforts of midsize companies.
Great impact doesn’t require deep pockets or huge efforts.
CSR can be as simple as organizing employees to work with an appropriate charitable organization to provide man-hours needed or provide the company’s own services to a nonprofit that aligns with the company’s goals at no cost.
The midmarket is the greatest weapon the world has to resolving societal and environmental problems.