Responsibility is kind of a dirty word in our society today. It brings to mind image of blame and finger pointing, and I think we associate the idea of responsibility with the transition from the freedom of childhood to the daily grind of being an adult. Still, is being responsible really a bad thing? If you look up the word ‘responsibility’ in the dictionary you’ll encounter words like duty, obligation, accountability, consequence… but you’ll also find other ways of defining responsibility – like trust, worth, or more simply, ‘able to respond’.
Elaine Cohen is an e-friend of mine (@elainecohen for all you Twitter users) who runs a business dealing with corporate social and environmental responsibility. It’s definitely a growing field, at least partly because the people who run those corporations are waking up to the fact that being responsible is good for the company, good for the planet, and good for business. I’m old enough to remember a time when ‘corporate America’ (not to pick on any one nation, but it was and is a common term) meant groups of companies that put their profit above all else, and some multi-national corporations not only had a larger footprint than some countries, they were also bound to the laws of no country in particular. If things got too ‘hot’ or too expensive to operate somewhere, they’d simply close down and move somewhere else. Such companies still exist of course, but they’re becoming the dinosaurs of this new age. CSRs (corporate responsibility reports) are showing up on websites all over the world, with varying degrees of success. Still, I think all of their efforts should be applauded. As has been said, a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Continue Reading →