In BCYF’s model, CSR 3.0 – personal CSR – is seen as a prerequisite to starting, sustaining, developing, and scaling a true social enterprise (which in itself is CSR 2.0), for the individual cannot profess to be an agent of social change through their organization if they themself do not possess the passion for the common good. Another helpful analogy shared by our colleague, Professor Patrick Adriel “Patch” Aure, is that CSR 3.0 is the “cousin” of CSR 2.0; I define it as CSR 3.0 being CSR 2.0 but from the individual, human perspective rather than the organizational.
That said, while browsing through the timeline of the Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility (the flagship, annual project of the Asian Institute of Management’s Ramon V. del Rosario Center for CSR), I was surprised at the theme for this year’s Forum, which will be held later on in the year here in Manila: “Building Resilient Communities: How Business, Government, and Social Enterprises Can Work Together”.
Wait a minute, business and social enterprise are two different things?
Although I am all praise and support for the theme – especially in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan last November – I believe there is a wording error – there is an element of redundancy in it. Business is social enterprise. In fact, to take the wisdom of my university organization-mate Mr. Albert Chen, social enterprise should not even exist, because it is business itself. Unfortunately, and this is one of the main theses of Whole Foods Market co-CEO John Mackey and Raj Sisodia in their 2013 book Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, the responsible, life-changing capabilities of business have become stunted in favor of businesspeople and thinkers alike who preached that the only social responsibility of business is to maximize profit only for the stockholders, even if it means other stakeholders lose in the process. (This serves as my “teaser” review for this book; a full review is coming.)
Hence, social enterprise.
Mackey and Sisodia preach that authentic capitalism is conscious to its very core, rendering CSR redundant precisely because the tenets of CSR are already integrated into the very business model and purpose of the business. In the chapter introducing conscious capitalism, they make a table contrasting conscious capitalism – essentially, a true, integrated, social enterprise – and corporate social responsibility: CSR 1.0. It is also interesting to note, however, that one of the four tenets of conscious capitalism is conscious leadership.
Or, in our words, CSR 3.0. However, in the BCYF model, it is a prerequisite to conscious capitalism.
That said, in attempting to reconcile what authentic, free enterprise ought to be from the start with the corrupted – but still very much redeemable – version it is seen today, it is preposterous to assume that social enterprise is a field of its own, when it is in fact the original form of business. They are one and the same. It is, in a nutshell, an innovative solution to a social, environmental, or socio-environmental problem – which business from the very start was meant to be. By that definition alone, one can easily see that it is supposed to create wealth and value for everyone involved, down to the humblest grassroots level. But this is not the case today – and our institutions still promote this misconception and myth!
Instead of courses on social enterprise, the institution should change the mindset of the student from the very onset. If capitalism has been corrupted due to misguided, narrowed thinking by its practitioners, scholars, and even critics, then that is obviously the root of the problem, and where steps need to be taken to address it. This is where CSR 3.0 comes in – converting the business practitioner and thinker to look at themselves first, to see their own actions and responsibilities stemming from said action. It acts as a vaccine against the temptations of so-called traditional business, properly reinforcing from the beginning so as to properly guide and channel business efforts once the start-up gets going.
The challenge lies in enlightening an entire planet to become conscious, to awaken a global consciousness. In fact, CSR 3.0 can be the key to solving every single problem the world is experiencing right now – if it is taught, promoted, understood, and channeled effectively and efficiently. Learning the tenets of CSR and by extension authentic entrepreneurship and mastering them will enable populations to work together, multiplying exponentially the already-infinite potential within each of us. Recognizing that each and every one of us is a full-fledged human being created in God’s image and likeness, and a source of unlimited potential and passion, is at the root of BCYF’s activities – by realizing and embracing the realities of human value.
It may sound an idealistic vision, and it is. But ideals are things we strive for and thus serve as motivations, inspirations, and drives for our actions. Why should we strive for par when we can so obviously aim for – and even achieve – excellence? And with that, excellence that creates huge benefits not just for us, but for everyone?