In a culture where business practices are made increasingly visible, and the ripple effect of corporate decisions are transparent nay, scrutinized, it is imperative that such decisions be made in response to social trends and concerns. For corporations, this means a Social Response Capitalism approach to creating a sustainable and strong business model that will translate into long-term success.
Social Response Capitalism is a transformational approach to thinking about business success – one in which companies restructure their operations to actively accommodate consumer demand by creating new products that will bridge the gap between traditional expectations of performance and price, and social impact. Currently, there is a direct correlation between public perception and revenue. As a society, we are far beyond the arcane industrialist mentality that ignores devastating environmental impacts and operates under supply and demand consumerism. We are learning that society adapts more to their own philosophical values than they do their material needs. Indeed, the new crowd sourcing and viral nature of support for innovations in environmentally friendly technology and production will propel corporations into the next century. So begins a new competition, and competition will drive the success (and defeat) of corporations.
As discussed in “The Surprising Solution,” society places pressure on a company to succeed in the innovation market and such success hinges on the company’s response to relevant environmental issues. Examples of these issues include: a drive to eliminate toxic chemicals in products of everyday use, a new corporate emphasis on the reusability and endurance of products, and some early examples of pure product innovation in advance response to pressure on clean air and climate change – all of which contribute to the 21st Century top social issue of building a healthy and sustainable environment that can withstand the trauma of mass production and the current drain on our natural resources.
There are number of different avenues that corporations can follow to manifest a Social Response Capitalism strategy that meets said social demands and that will turn innovation into action and ultimately, measurable results. Joint Innovation Projects (JIPs) are agreements in business-to-business innovation that includes intellectual, monetary, technology, and strategy sharing between corporate leaders who are working towards a common goal – usually to achieve social or environmental improvements. Through such sharing, the innovation that bridges the aforementioned gap between product perception and social impact becomes a reality.
Indeed, corporations are learning that a shared value approach to collaboration will have a larger global impact. The long-term global benefit here trumps the short-term publicity boost for businesses looking for recognition. Corporations recognize that collaboration is necessary for innovation, which is necessary for environmental sustainability. The full-circle effect from environmental impact to social impact to corporate sustainability proves that applying Social Response Capitalism to addressing societal and environmental demands for improvement will result in success.
The most successful corporations will be those who can answer the call to prioritize the health of the environment. Companies dedicated to retroactively addressing existing environmental damage will be setting a bar worldwide, and in doing so will be forsaking an industrialist attitude while embracing a team work approach. Even more successful however, will be those corporations who invest their resources in innovations and processes that are preventative. The responsive action is not simply to rehabilitate existing eco-systems that have been traumatized, but to design new methodologies in production that can mitigate the potential for environmental deterioration as a whole.
As experts in Social Response and Corporate Strategy since 1981, AHC Group has been applying the above philosophies to our consulting arrangements and affiliate workshops for decades. We help companies stay ahead of the curve to cultivate long-term business success while continuously meeting the global demands for improved environmental health. Our relationships have a ripple affect, and there is a shared value in what is learned. In fact, at an upcoming AHC Group Affiliate Workshop, Kevin Butt, Chief Environmental Office at Toyota, will be providing a leadership presentation: Competing On Sustainability, while Gordon Lambert, Executive Advisor Sustainability and Innovation, Suncor Energy is presenting on Innovation and Creating Social Value Through COSIA.