Sunday, April 3, 2011

Why Responsible Business Matters? - Guest Post by Saeeda Ahmed, UK

Saeeda Ahmed is a cofounder and CEO of Trescom, a successful training and community empowerment company across Britain. Saeeda holds a Master degree in Community Enterprise from University of Cambridge and a degree in accountancy. She is interested in social responsibility and international collaboration opportunities. 

In a modern day world where capitalism and globalisation seems to be the unflavour of the month, people are increasingly questioning the role of institutions. They want to know how the economics and politics influence the livelihoods of ordinary people. The status quo of capitalism is in a state of flux and this creates massive opportunities for social entrepreneurs to take the limelight and thrive

In the past it was seen as unsavoury that the poor were trampled for maximising the profits of the capitalists. Saying that, maximizing profits was not taken by the majority as THEIR OWN struggle nor was responsibility always seen by consumers on how they contributed to this imbalance of power and wealth. Often perceived as a problem that faced people in faraway lands, many dissociated themselves away from it and absolved themselves of responsibility from it. This was whilst we indulged in our modern day gadgetry and self absorbed lifestyles. The self centeredness and Individualistic centered models on their own, are not a problem but on a macro basis can be the cancer of a thriving community.

The communities across the world can see evidence of actions of private corporate without consideration of negative consequences on environment, people and producers. And it isn't just the capitalists being seen as the culprit.

The recent economic and banking crisis in the Western world really brought the issue to the forefront of the masses. People started seeing the ugly effects of what happens when people do not matter for the sake of profits. Suddenly the issue of exploitation isn't just about the poor far away but it is about us. The people that are affected are our families, neighbors, communities and us. Whether as consumers, employees or local communities, we are beginning to realize we are paying against the odds to maintain the profit margins of those in power.

People do not want to work endlessly to maintain and oil these private monetary systems. This neither gives personal satisfaction nor much additional value to the person. The great side effect of the economic crisis is that soul searching has occurred and influenced thought processes. This change has encouraged (like no scale before), the appetite by consumers for ethical, socially and environmentally responsible business. This creates a massive opportunity for social entrepreneurs to satisfy this consumer appetite. However this has to be done whilst it still matters to the masses or they are still hungry.