It is in everyone's best interest that business can satisfy its need to generate profit whilst acting for the common good by improving society and protecting the environment. Yet over the last few decades, business has been influenced by the narrowest of objectives: how to make as much profit as possible in the shortest time.
Our profits-first system encourages businesses to offload costs onto society and the environment and take advantage of consumers, employees, suppliers and others. Businesses which have refused to do these things have risked ceding advantage to less scrupulous competitors.
However, short termism is proving to be unprofitable in the long run. Against the backdrop of environmental degradation, faltering prosperity and a widening wealth gap between the winners and the losers, businesses which avoid paying tax, violate human rights or cut down rainforests are increasingly visible and challengeable.
Unethical and exploitative business behaviours are becoming more apparent and less acceptable. They risk diminishing brand, reputation and licence to operate like never before. Businesses which fail to demonstrate any purpose beyond maximising profit risk losing public trust and destroying the very shareholder value they seek to protect.
The good news is that businesses CAN be a force for good and successfully combine the pursuit of profit with the interests of wider society. And when they do so en masse, everyone will benefit.
We believe a shift toward responsible business practice is not only possible but inevitable. Facilitating this transition in business is the key aim behind the name 'Profit Through Ethics'. It is also the concept at the heart of our beliefs and values.
Tracey Rawling Church
Director of Brand and Reputation, Kyocera Document Solutions (UK) Ltd.
"Responsible 100 raises the profile of businesses that are doing their best to meet their responsibilities towards people and planet."