The Age of Responsibility

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The Age of Responsibility

Business is doing more than ever before to tackle issues like climate change, poverty, human rights and corruption. So why are things are getting worse, not better? Why are environmental and social trends still headed in the wrong direction? Wayne Visser argues that traditional approaches have failed, leaving business stuck in the Ages of Greed, Philanthropy, Marketing and Management. Using Web 2.0 as a metaphor, Wayne Visser shows how business needs to radically transform if we are to ever reach a true Age of Responsibility.

In particular, Visser shows how the old model of Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility (CSR) is being replaced by a 2nd generation movement. This generation goes beyond the outmoded approach of CSR as philanthropy or public relations (widely criticised as 'greenwash') to a more interactive, stakeholder-driven model.

Content from this campaign

The Long Tail of CSR: When Smaller is Bigger
Is bigger always better or can we still say ‘small is beautiful’, as the pioneering economist E.F. Schumacher argued way back in 1973? Certainly, the ‘muesli-eating, sandal-wearing’ New Age approach to small-is-beautiful has been rather more of an advert for ‘small is groovy, but ultimately ineffectual’. But what if we could do both big and small at the same time? I discussed the issue...
Mar 27, 2012 7:45 PM ET
Nature vs. Nurture: Are Social Entrepreneurs Born or Made?
What do Taddy Blecher, Anurag Gupta, Wang Chuan-Fu and all of the other social entrepreneurs have in common? Is this a special breed of human being? Are social entrepreneurs born or can they be made? In the academic literature, there is an interesting thread of research that is around the concept of ‘champions’ in organisations, especially ‘environmental champions’. The idea draws on prior...
Mar 20, 2012 3:05 PM ET
CSR 2.0 as a New DNA for Business
By May 2008, it was clear to me that the evolutionary concept of Web 2.0 held many lessons for CSR, and I began to develop my thinking around CSR 2.0. It quickly became clear, however, that a metaphor can only take you so far. What was needed was a set of principles against which we could test CSR. These went through a few iterations, but I eventually settled on five, which form a kind of...
Mar 13, 2012 3:15 PM ET
Cracking the CSR Codes Puzzle
Looking back, we can see that the 1990s were the decade of CSR codes – not only EMAS, ISO 14001 and SA 8000, but also the Forest Steward Council (FSC) and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certification Schemes, Green Globe Standard (tourism sector), Corruption Perceptions Index, Fairtrade Standard, Ethical Trading Initiative, Dow Jones Sustainability Index and OHSAS 18001 (health & safety...
Mar 7, 2012 2:50 PM ET
Broken Promises: BP’s slide backwards into Promotional CSR
By 2000, John Browne, then-CEO of BP, felt the company had earned enough sustainability kudos to risk a major rebranding. The company reportedly spent $7 million in researching the new ‘Beyond Petroleum’ Helios brand and $25 million on a campaign to support the brand change. When Browne justified the exercise by saying ‘it’s all about increasing sales, increasing margins and reducing costs at...
Feb 28, 2012 3:35 PM ET