The main and sole purpose of business is making a profit; however, in the last few years, the term of Corporate Social Responsibility has added a point to the purpose of business. The point made stands that business should not be harmful to society and the environment. This essay will explore how business could serve society and the environment and how the business is connected to the common good.
Historically, when business manufacturers were faced with the environmental issues they have caused, society put a stigma on the businesses, that they only cared for the ‘bottom line’ or profit. The generally advised approach to a business is a triple bottom line concept that expects the companies to care more about people and the planet on par with the profit. While the frequent opinion is that the businesses only contribute to the bad aftermath of their activities, there is a deeper underlying connection for them to the common good. An idea presented by Michael Porter (2013) states that most of the common good comes from the businesses as they form a substantial part of the economy. Furthermore, the donations committed by the citizens to charities and non-profit organizations come from business companies, as they create wealth. Businesses accumulate the nation’s wealth by adding the price to the goods and services that, on a bigger scale, results in wealth for the employees, the managers, the CEOs.
Applying the same scaling principle to the environmental problems and problems in society, one could agree that the help resources from the government are not enough. At the same time, businesses carry resources that the government could not surpass. Even if corporations do not participate in sustainability actions, they benefit society and the environment on the same level by improving the economic state. While triple bottom line practice might sound idealistic, it indeed fits Adam Smith’s theory of ‘laissez faire’ (Smith 1827). The approach emphasizes the self-regulating role of the market and businesses and implies that the government should not control the market. Applying the theory to environmental problems means that the companies can eliminate the aftermath of their activities and solve other problems they may encounter. As the government’s resources from the tax incomes cannot match the problems, the businesses must take the lead in providing help to the planet and people.
Moreover, businesses should consider the ‘bottom-line’ of the profit to serve society’s problems and possibly even switch to the triple bottom line process, as modern society consumers are different. Consumers, customers, and clients now are more educated in choosing processes and tend to use the goods and services of businesses with a clean image more. In addition to the triple bottom line model, advanced companies are helping society with a wide variety of resources. For example, some companies provide financial help to local charities; others offer free educational courses for citizens.
In conclusion, businesses serve society and the common good by multiplying the nation’s wealth and improving the economic state. Instead of harmful actions, modern business companies contribute help and resources to society’s environmental problems. The customer’s shift towards the companies with advanced Corporate Social Responsibilities and growing trend of sustainability in business implies that the bottom-line profit belongs to the people and the planet. While problems in the environment and society are open, businesses can upgrade their moral and ethical standards and contribute help.
Porter, Michael. 2013. “Why Business Can Be Good at Solving Social Problems.” YouTube video. Web.
Smith, Adam. 1827. An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Edinburgh: Printed at the University Press for T. Nelson and P. Brown.