Sunday, May 06, 2007

Comments on Social Enterprise

I discovered a new CSR source recently, CSR Chicks, a Yahoo! Group started in London by professional women working in CSR. Though the name includes the word "chicks", the group is open to people of all sexes and backgrounds and has become a global clearing house for CSR information. The group is new to me and I have found some interesting information posted from their members.

A post of a transcript of a speech by Tim Smit, founder and Chief Executive of the Eden Project caught my eye recently. As I read along, stumbling over some of what I assume are English (should I say "British"?) colloquialisms, my eyes popped when I read this comment from Mr. Smit:

I went to speak to the Schumacher College last year for the 40th anniversary of Resurgence magazine and Satish Kumar, who’s the boss, asked me to be controversial. So I got up and said, to the audience: who here believes that everybody on earth ought to have access to clean drinking water? And everybody put there hands up. And then I said: who here supports water aid, which is a fabulous charity that does that, and almost everybody put their hands up? And I said who here believes that water aid could provide clean drinking water to everybody on earth? Nobody put their hands up, and I then laid into the audience. I said the problem is you’re in love with hippie shit.

The truth is that the very organisations that actually make your tummy turn, because your politics suggest you shouldn’t be supporting them, are the only people capable of it. Shell, Mobil, Exxon: these companies have the project management, the drilling skills to actually do this stuff. And that’s where we are. That’s our battle ground. It’s to grow up and not take the baggage of the Sixties - the radical chic of being pro-business or anti-business - with us into the next phase of our development. We need to understand that there is a new configuration developing and if we can’t bring business together with the sort of value-driven systems that
we have, that will be our failure.

Right on! We cannot compartmentalize organizations/corporations as good or bad if we hope to make progress on the global issues we hope to conquer. Reading his entire speech helped keep me motivated to continue my personal work understanding how to bring CSR into my life. my communities, and the companies I interact with.

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