I got an email from a friend who suggested that I was being too nice on my post for Net Impact.
We had had an earlier discussion at the conference about CSR whitewashing and not being ‘real’ enough.
**update** – read his post here.
Although I still feel as though my post was a good reflection of what I really thought, I added the need for an edgier piece in the feedback questionnaire, asking to bring in a speaker/panel about the ‘dark side’ of CSR – something that will shake up the audience to start better understanding the arguments against this movement.
I love mixing with like minded people but I’m realizing the danger in doing so.
There’s a reason why the split between the environmental and economic camps took so long to see eye to eye (and can’t say they’ve reconciled but the two sides have come a long way in the last few years). Both sides have been so deeply entrenched in their beliefs, thinking that the other one has no idea what they’re talking about, that they become more divided. But finally corporate social responsibility is hitting the mainstream and it’s not a question of whether to do it or not, but it’s a question of how to do it.
Nevertheless, it is somewhat true that the followers and believers of CSR all kind of nod their head in agreement about bringing social and environmental values into the board room. But it’s never a good thing if we just keep on nodding. (A note for myself as well!) A good example came from the Director of Sustainability at KPMG. At a workshop he went to he had to do something like “speed dating” but with CSR people and investors. In 2 min they had to try and understand each other. They found out that the two spoke a different language. Interesting indeed…
We need to start learning new “languages” to understand all sides of this movement. CSR isn’t a fluffy, happy world and we should address that when all of these people get in the room together. Otherwise, we’re just preaching to the converted.
So, going back to that post, what are the hard questions that we need to start asking ourselves? What aspects of the sustainability movement do we need to confront? Not as an exercise to bring us down, but to make it stronger?
This goes for everything. If you’re a lefty, go pick up a right-winged magazine. If you’re a hard core economist, go read Silent Spring or something.
Which reminds me; I need to go read the Skeptical Environmentalist.
And on another note…
HAUSKAA JUHANNUSTA! (Happy Mid-Summer) – Saturday is the longest day of the year here (rises at 3:22 and sets at 23:15…but never dark) and most likely half this population will be drinking and sauna-ing at camps/cottages/kesämökkit for the weekend:) Looking forward to it!
This was two years ago in Finland… but expect to be doing the same thing this weekend:)