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Culture Saves Lives

The heart of the argument is that long-term financial interests are in the best interests of both the shareholders and the public. Companies that plan for the future are the ones that see the business benefit of ensuring that their markets and customers will be around the the long-term as well. The problem is not profit per se, the problem is short-term self-interest over long-term corporate interest.

So how do companies position balance profit and socially responsible activities?

The challenge is to design self-regulation in a manner that emphasizes transparency and accountability, consistent with what the public expects from government regulation. It is up to the government to ensure that any self-regulation meets that standard. And the government must be prepared to step in and impose its own regulations if the industry fails to police itself effectively.

It always comes down to values: companies that actively foster transparency and accountability internally will have the easier time creating the alignment between profit and social responsibility, because leaders will have the sense and the capabilities to look out for the long-term interests of shareholders, which will benefit all of the organization’s stakeholders.

Thank you Professor Karnani for highlighting that the source of true social responsibility comes from the core values of leaders and not from a superficial “greenwash” that masks a short-term outlook.