What is it that makes a company successful? What is it that makes a company valuable? The first answer to come into one’s mind is: It’s the profit, it’s the money it makes.
“The business of business is business”, said Milton Friedman, an American economist, in the 1970s. This quote basically says that the only social responsibility of a business is “(…) to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game.”
But does this cover the whole story? What is it that makes the business a great business in the end? “It’s all about people”, Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens, says. “And it’s all about people because it’s all about society. It’s about the societal purpose a company gives.” Joe Kaeser calls it Business to Society, B2S.
A company has to have a purpose and that purpose has to be creating value for society. A company which does not serve society should not exist.”
But how can companies make profit and serve society at the same time? “Ask yourself some questions”, Kaeser suggests at the FLI Conference :
- How many jobs do we create?
- What impact does our business have on the environment?
- How do we support the sustainable development of a country?
… and then take action:
Joe Kaeser concludes four steps to Business to Society: