A responsible business is more than a profit machine. Though it is true that business cannot survive without profit, modern businesses that focus solely on their income level will find that communities are less likely to embrace them. Customers expect more from a company than a good bottom line, and modern businesses have several responsibilities beyond their main goal of staying profitable and functional.
A successful business should be invested in its community. Local businesses can sponsor youth sports teams and facilities or efforts to get litter off the streets. Large business can contribute money toward new public parks and playground equipment. Businesses that are respected by their communities will do better in the long run, and most companies are expected to put some money back into the community that helps make them a success.
For every CEO or other important executive, there are a number of low-level employees that perform the bulk of a business’ work. These employees should be treated with respect, paid fair wages and have access to benefits that improve upon their quality of life. Strong businesses know that one of their most important responsibilities is keeping their employees challenged and satisfied as these are two primary methods for encouraging innovation and productivity.
Companies are also expected to act ethically and honestly with the community, their employees and shareholders. Corporate fraud, shutting down local businesses, cheating on taxes and violating federal and state laws can have serious repercussions for a company, and not just in the sense of legal fees and prison time.
Customers want their companies to act like responsible and respectable members of the community and often feel embarrassed or upset over a business’ ethics violations. A company should always take the ethical high ground to preserve its standing with consumers.
As environmental issues and green energy have become popular topics in public debate, companies are feeling an increased pressure to limit their environmental impact. Though this is a larger concern for manufacturing businesses that deal with harsh chemicals and harmful pollutants, even companies, from banks to video game developers, should make an effort to host internal recycling services, carpool and limit their energy consumption. A company should be able to show what it is doing to proactively protect the environment if it wants to live up to the expectations of consumers.