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‘Together we can change the world.’ Many people say this and it is true for many situations. People have gathered together to abolish slavery and achieve suffrage, to fight crime and rebuild infrastructure, to build schools and inform education policy.  People can move mountains, so why can’t people influence corporate social responsibility? The answer is: We Can.     

Today, individuals have so much information at their fingertips from corporate websites, blogs, and social networks to formal reporting initiatives. Corporations have few places to hide their practices within the supply chain. Individuals can monitor corporate decisions and tell others about what they have found. Further, corporations know that word of mouth is still one of the strongest influencers of consumer choice.  

It is easier than ever to share ideas. People no longer have to run into someone at the store to hear their thoughts about the latest products. They can read reviews online about them or, even more powerful, consult their Facebook, MySpace or Twitter cyber friends and acquaintances in real time for their advice. On Twitter, a member can tweet a 140-character question about a corporation and receive 50 responses in less than a minute including opinions and links to articles, reports, and blogs that inform their purchasing decision.   

 

Together We Can Change the World 

Increasingly, CEOs and Corporate Social Responsibility Implementers within corporations are realizing the importance of listening to the consumer voice. This is especially true in today’s economy. A recent IBM Global CEO Study found that successful “CEOs are spending more to attract and retain increasingly prosperous, informed, and socially aware customers.” Practicing good social responsibility translates to better standing in the community, bigger profits, attracting and retaining more talented employees, and greater social impact

Increasingly, organizations recognize the importance of private enterprise in the success of reaching the Millennium Development Goals. From the 2nd addition of the International Business Leaders Forum’s Framework for Action report:

Corporations can contribute to the success of the MDGs in the following areas:

·      Fundamental business operations and supply chains – implementing responsible business practices in areas such as human rights, labor, environmental, and health.

·      Social investment and philanthropy – contributing employee volunteers and expertise, product and in-kind contributions and supporting community based projects.

·      Public advocacy and institutional strengthening – collaborating on initiatives to support systemic change on local, national, or global levels. 

Collaboration between individuals, NGOs, non-profits, governments, and the private sector is so important that it is the eighth MDG: “’To develop a global partnership for development,’ explicitly calls for partnerships, which are essential at all levels-local, national, global-for the attainment of the other seven goals and the values and actions set out in the Millennium Declaration.” – UNDP

First Steps to Creating Change

·      Put away preconceived notions of what type of entities have the right to contribute to social issues.

·      Work together to discover strengths and how these strengths can be best used toward achieving common goals.

·      Ask how can non-profit, for-profit, government, NGO and individual efforts be coordinated to have the greatest impact on society.

·      Let people hear your voice. Find ways to get your voice heard on issues that you care about.

·      Join with like-minded others to influence corporate social responsibility efforts in education, poverty, child safety, the environment, and other important issues.  

·      Expect that the corporations you do business with are good citizens and hold them accountable to this.

·      Be the Change. Whenever possible make choices on products and services that reflect the change that you want to see in your community and the world. Choose corporations, products, and services that practice good social responsibility, give back to the community, support social projects, or contribute to society issues.        

As people become more aware of the potential good that can be achieved by collaborative entity efforts, greater impact can be achieved. People have more power to influence the way corporations approach social responsibility than they may realize. This is true for all societal issues but is especially important for children’s issues and meeting the goals Millennium Development Goals pertaining to children

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