Private sector executives often struggle to understand how to respond to these demands, given that they are complying with the law and (in their view) can hardly be expected to pay more than legally required. But it comes down to a wider issue of balancing their right to make money with their responsibility towards those they are making it from.Finding ways to demonstrate that responsibility goes well beyond the issue of tax – it requires firms to think about new ways of doing business. For 35 years Ashoka has pioneered the concept of social entrepreneurs. Our founder, Bill Drayton, coined the term and began a global search for extraordinary people dedicated to changing the world. To date, we have elected 3,500 Ashoka fellows in 88 countries, including two Nobel Peace Prize winners, and we calculate that half our fellows have changed national laws and policies within three years of their election. But in recent years we have gone further, trying to encourage schools and colleges around the world to teach what we call “changemaker values”: the ability to thrive as an individual and make a positive contribution to society in an increasingly fast moving world. Fundamental skills such as empathy, entrepreneurship, teamwork and leadership are as essential in today’s world as secondary school level literacy and numeracy. If there was more empathy in the boardroom our society might look very different. Furthermore, we are trying to help build a world in which businesses grow because of social impact –from the supply chain to interactions with consumers. We believe that commercial companies can facilitate positive change in areas beyond the reach of public policy makers and the third sector. Read more about social entrepreneurship and sustainability:
- Why should we encourage young people to think sustainably?
- Social entrepreneurs demand more recognition from companies and investors
- Five social business trends companies can’t afford to ignore
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