Creating shared value – the new sustainability paradigm? (via On sustainability, csr and climate change)

One of the things about American business that drives me crazy is the myopic quarterly focus of many companies, particularly Wall Street firms with their bonus oriented goal setting. Short term thinking causew serious problems for long term investors and has in a good number of cases resulted in the destruction of the company. This is good business ethics writing and I hope this paradigm catches on and changes the way businesses think about profits and planning.

James Pilant

To most business-minded folks, the creating shared value (CSV) concept is nothing new. In short, as Michael Porter and Mark Kramer put it in a recent Harvard Business Review article, CSV is all about “value creation for business that simultaneously yields more profit and greater social impact, resulting in powerful transformations and opportunities for growth and innovation in both business and society.” It assumes that  companies create business … Read More

via On sustainability, csr and climate change

Ben Franklin’s Business Ethics!

I was reading the Harvard Business Review when I came across this gem of an article by a John Paul Rollert. In it, Rollert discusses Franklin’s scheme for moral perfection and the cast of villains and heroes who assisted and obstructed his printing business.

I try to read Franklin’s autobiography at least once a year. After writing the biography he would go on to represent Massachusetts before the king, serve in the Continental Congress, and most importantly, serve on the Committee of Five that created the Declaration of Independence. He then represented the colonies to the French king, was one of three American negotiators for the peace treaty ending the Revolutionary War, and then to culminate his career, serve as a delegate as the Constitutional Convention. In the last years of his life, Franklin became an avid foe of slavery.

The autobiography is, thus, an early picture of Franklin before the world shaking accomplishment that would follow. Reading the book is an interesting experience. Franklin is witty, self deprecating and pridefull (often at the same time), cynical, clever and moral (most of the time). He freely admits that sex was a problem for him (he mentions intrigues with low women) and he believed it necessary for good health.

He is the antithesis of Friedman’s pure focus on profit, being an avid member of the community, supporting and creating in the public sphere constantly. He created organized firefighters, lending libraries, the idea of matching funds, and the development of education. He not only spent his own money, he solicited money from others and was willing to suffer controversy if he felt the cause was just. In short, he was a model American.

He was no shrunken, pale reflections of humanity, the kind that worships the green dollar sign above all other treasures. He loved his country and his fellow man. He was willing to suffer ridicule and danger for his country.

I have three heroes in my life, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Drummond (Inherit the Wind) and Caesar as portrayed in Shaw’s play, Caesar and Cleopatra.

I owe you gentle reader an apology. I have talked much about what I have read and what it meant to me and let Mr. Rollert’s article undiscussed. His writing appears in the Harvard Business Review which by itself speaks well of it and I recommend that you read it and get his take on the business significance of Franklin’s writing.