Sustainable profit should be the new corporate goal. What does that mean? It means conducting business under the auspices of human rights in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. I recently attended the 4th Annual ABN AMRO conference on Human Trafficking. Keynote speaker Kate Gilmore, the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, made an interesting remark that “business must become a teacher.” She noted that human rights is not a reward or tagline, but a business responsibility. “Business have the power to re-design and inspire new ideas for products and guidelines.” On the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the call to the private sector is Stand Up and Get on with Business. The idea is that the private sector should stand up for human rights and be able to make a profit. Is that possible? What does it take to change the paradigm for businesses to make money and DO GOOD? Is there any profit in Fair?
Is it FAIR?
A consumer marketing tip is to look for a “Fair” brand name. An interesting example of a company doing just that is Fairphone, a social enterprise attempting the break the cycle of child labor in Congolese cobalt mines by working with local companies to create clean supply chains and co-develop phones for the marketplace. Ever wonder if your flower bouquet is “dirty?” Hivos has a challenge for you: buy Fair Flowers to stop poor working conditions in the African flower market. I bet that most readers know the term Fair Trade, but have never heard of Fair phones and flowers. Perhaps it starts the old-fashioned way with an updated business case that aligns ROI with social and environmental goals. What does your Board think? Are they ready to play FAIR and grow ROI?