The Financial Crisis of 2007-08 exposed one of the biggest failings of modern business: the lack of a moral and ethical compass. Financial institutions obsessed over short-term goals, such as getting the stock price up and delivering quarterly profits, no matter what the cost. Few of them really worried about the impact their irresponsibility would have on ordinary citizens, who, ironically, were the ones that had to bail them out.
Today, finally the realization is starting to dawn that businesses cannot survive in isolation, and they have a responsibility towards the society. Ideas such as ethical business, strategic philanthropy and corporate social responsibility (CSR) are starting to gain strength again in the post-crisis era.
From Chinese enterprises eyeing a bigger pie of the international market, to multinational companies trying to win over the Chinese market, CSR has become a key differentiator in today’s highly globalized market, as well as a new driver for social and technological innovations. Although existing cross-border CSR platforms, such as the United Nations Global Compact, have already established a set of principles for companies worldwide to follow, cultural, social and economical pluralism have posed challenges on the application of such standards, which are usually very conceptual, abstract and sometimes removed from reality.
During a recent visit to CKGSB in Beijing, two leading experts in this field, Josef Wieland, Professor of Business Administration and Economics of Hochschule Konstanz University of Applied Sciences (HTWG), and Klaus M. Leisinger, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development (NFSD), shared their opinion on how companies should interpret the core values of global CSR standards and how to better implement them in a transcultural context.
In Part 1 of these two-part series, Josef Wieland talks about CSR management in a globalized economy, and how companies can establish a better values management system in accordance with global CSR standards. Wieland believes that globalization goes far beyond international trade and its true aim is to establish a “global value creation chain” through mutual understanding and trust, which then requires the development of globally accepted norms of good corporate behavior.
“This is a challenge… but it’s also a chance, ” says Wieland. “Businesses and companies are in the forefront of this movement. ”
Watch the video for Wieland’s interpretation of the seven core values of global CSR standards.
About Josef Wieland:
Josef Wieland is Head of the Constance Institute for Intercultural Management, Values and Communication and the Centre for Business Ethics. He was awarded the Max Weber Prize for Business Ethics by the German Federation of Industries in 1999 and the Prize for Applied Research by the state of Baden-Württemberg in 2004. He is a member of the CSR forum established by the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.