Why is Initiatives of Change involved with the business world through CIB?However unfortunate it may be, the global financial crisis demonstrated again that “Fighting Corruption”, “Corporate Values” or “Corporate Social Responsibility” are often little more than corporate slogans. When push comes to shove, many companies do not stick to such commitments.
Various rationalizations are used: “competition will get us if we don’t pay up”, “it is us or them”, “we are short of time”, “things need to get done”, “a small hand-out can do no harm”… The root of the problem is that many, if not most of us, are convinced that it is not possible to be competitive while remaining honest and upholding values – we would like to be values oriented & ethical, but it is not “practical”!!
At Caux Initiatives for Business (CIB), we do not accept the contention that profits can only be made through financial impropriety, distortion of legal rules and unfair labour practices. We strongly feel that while such unfair practices may bring some short term gains, they end up destroying the business fabric as well as businesses’ reputation within the general public.
Based on individual’s convictions and experience of using ethical standards in their own work, CIB affirms (a) that it is possible to conduct business and industry ethically and still remain competitive and (b) that this is the most sustainable form of business.
The dynamics of change starts with the premise that everyone, including one’s self, can identify where their own behaviour needs to change and that they can successfully tackle these issues, sometimes with the assistance of a friend, colleague or coach. By making people aware of the potential they possess to do what is right and fair. Many individuals at all levels in organizations, from worker to top management, have become more responsible and proactive, affecting positively their work situation and benefiting their organisations.
The second step is to establish the conditions for dialogue within the company and between its stakeholders. Too many of us believe that “offense is the best defence” without realising that this means approaching situations through ‘fear’; putting our counterparts on the defensive and becoming ‘part of the problem’. We believe that by approaching a situation through ‘love’ or ‘empathy’, we are reaching out to our counterparts, creating a collaborative trust and together becoming ‘part of the solution’.
The third step is to respond to critical situations concerning our economic environment and help establish a fair and sustainable economy, with an ethical and responsible governance. Most of the difficult problems we face, in industry, politics or government have a human root cause. Yet we try to use technology to solve all our problems and wonder why we so often fail! Fulfilling a vision takes dedication and hard work, but also open exchange and cooperation at all levels that can be maintained only by creating forums and communication channels where all interested parties, can freely meet and honestly discuss.
Objectives of CIB activities
- To promote a culture of honesty and integrity in the workplace;
- To equip people with practical tools, grounded in a moral and ethical framework, for use in their places of work;
- To empower and inspire individuals to make a difference where they are;
- To refresh people with insights and best practices drawn from various cultures, religions, and experiences;
- To create an environment where business people can engage in honest conversations and actions about topics relevant to business life today and into the future;
- To help business and industry create an environment congenial to the prevention of industrial strife;
- To challenge people to think beyond their own experiences and to envision a society where business is a collaborator rather than a competitor;
- To develop practical and creative solutions to seemingly intractable problems, such as poverty, environmental degradation, unemployment, and corruption;
- To ensure that the benefits of globalization are available for all;
- ‘Create Trust and Build Bridges’ between business, governments, social organisations and society.
How this happens
- Inter-country collaboration on programs to learn from and adopt best practices;
- Inter-regional projects;
- In-country programs where these ideas are shared and promoted;
- A network of concerned and active individuals who promote these ideas in the workplace;
- Active relationship-building with business people, government functionaries and decision influencers;
- Networking with governments, international bodies and other civil society organizations;
- Cultural exchanges and training (in collaboration with CENTREL and the Training Wing of IofC International);
- Annual & Biennial Conferences; Round Tables
- Broad-based public relations programs, including a comprehensive website, that spreads the message of Caux Initiatives for Business.