Construction business has moved a long way from Milton’s ‘the only purpose of business is business’ with many seeking to adopt more of a socially responsible approach, sometimes through choice, more often through client driven procurement requirements. But can businesses rooted in capitalism really morph into something that drives a more responsible sector, one that embraces a collaborative, sharing, responsible economy?
John Friedman @JohnFriedman writing in Huffington Post ‘The Next Chapter of Capitalism‘ thinks so,
In boardrooms and executive suites around the world, business leaders – those people who are truly leading and not just managing their companies – are writing a new chapter of capitalism.
The new chapter seeks to preserve (and expand) the gains in quality of life, longevity, health and well-being and prosperity that are the best results of this economic system while working to ensure that those benefits are universally shared and they do not come at the expense of the Earth’s vast – but finite – natural resources.
The next chapter of capitalism is where the performance of the private sector is in harmony with the progress of society.
The test for the ‘next chapter in capitalism’ will be when social metrics such as CSR, Community Engagement, Sharing, Responsible and Restorative Sustainability, gain a place on the construction board room agenda equal to or over riding the historic cost and profit metrics.
And, as John Friedman questions who will write this next question in capitalism, so we should ask who will write the next chapter in construction business.
Towards the end of last year the Construction Marketing Association conducted a US national survey of construction professionals regarding their use of social media. Of note is that 90% of those surveyed used social media, and of those 91% managed social media internally. Also of interest is the % use of Social Media platforms used, along with the most effective (linkedin) and least effective (facebook) social media platforms.
Also take a look at my article feature in the Guardian last year Why the construction sector should engage with social media, our Be2Camp Social Media Framework for GreenDeal, and Pauley Creative’s 2011 How are the top 15 UK Construction Companies using Social Media
What do you think? What do you use in your business?
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Much has been written and discussed around the use of the word ‘sustainability’ and indeed, within the built environment has become over an used term, we are seemingly littered with sustainable construction, design and fm, with sustainable products, techniques and technologies. It is as though the pre-fix ‘sustainable’ has become to mean little more than the way we now do things. Business as usual?
And yet in a world of transparency we increasingly run the risk of greenwash if we claim ‘sustainability status’ (or indeed ‘zero carbon’) for our activities and are really called to account.
I was reminded of this debate on reading the excellent The Responsible Business by Yvon Chouinard and Vincent Stanley
“A word about a word we have chosen to use as little as possible: Sustainability. Its a legitimate term that calls us not to take more from nature than we can give back. But we do take more than we give, we do harm nature more than we help it.
We have no business applying the the word sustainable to business activity until we learn to house, feed, clothe and entertain ourselves – and fuel the effort – without interfering with natures capacity to regenerate itself and support a rich variety of life.
We are a long long way from doing business … and no human economic activity is yet sustainable”
What do you think? Let us know if you think the word sustainability has become over used and hence lost its meaning
Construction CSR Makeover: can construction learn from Patagonia?
Constructing CSR iTransparency
… on what makes a building green