Business And Social Bottom Line – Part 2.

by Patrick Liew on December 15, 2013

In recent times, there has been a more pronounced view that private business should operate as a corporate citizen (Garriga and Mele, 2004).

According to the stakeholder theory, it should satisfy the demands of a variety of stakeholders (Freeman, 1984).They include governments, communities, grassroots organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

These stakeholders expect private business to improve the community and look after the environment.

If the business fails to do so, they can withdraw their support and create negative publicity that may affect its sustainability and growth.

As part of the social eco-system, private business should contribute to the betterment of society.

It is a way to expand the market and create a more sustainable operation.

At the same time, private business can build a closer relationship with its customers and the other stakeholders, leading to a stronger branding equity and growth potential.

I have developed what I called a 6 Cs framework to help private business step up its social contributions at different stages of its life cycle.

First, employers should start by looking after the well being of their colleagues.

By helping them to have a fulfilling job, reasonable salary, and healthy working environment, they are making a direct impact on families and the community.

At the same time, private business should develop a win-win relationship with its customers.

It should ensure that its dealings are honorable, lawful, and ethical. By value-adding to the customers; such as helping them to achieve better results, it is helping to prevent or resolve problems in the social sector.

Private business can also identify, anticipate, and satisfy crucial needs of the community.

It can do so by engaging and working with community leaders and NGOs that are serving an altruistic cause.

By contributing thoughts, time, talent, and treasure, including money, the business can become a desired, important, and respected corporate citizen.

For example, my company runs an elderly assistance programme  in our community. We aim to help our clients live a dignified life and age gracefully.

When the business is in a better position, it can develop initiatives to contribute to advancement of the country.

It includes encouraging talented employees to serve in leadership and advisory positions of organizations that are involved in supporting humanitarian, philanthropic, and charity missions.

On a larger scale, it can leverage on its core competence to create “shared values,” positive values that can have a catalytic and cascading effect on the social sector (Porter and Kramer, 2002).

To illustrate, my company leverages on our expertise in training to run an NGO to mentor students to inculcate life skills so that they can be in a better position to succeed in life.

As the business grows globally, it can improve its social mission and replicate it in different countries that it is operating in.

It can start a social enterprise, have a joint venture, or engage volunteers to help run the mission. This is to minimize use of its resources and create a bigger impact.

In recent years, there were more natural crises than before. The number will more likely than not continue to increase.

Private businesses can work with governments and humanitarian organizations to support crisis relief efforts. They can volunteer to help on the ground, donate resources, or raise funds for social missions.

I believe that when businesses in the private sector take on a more active role to work with the public and people sectors, the world will become a much better place for our generation and the generations to come.


Garriga, E. and Mele, D. (2004). Corporate social responsibility theories: mapping the territory, Journal of business ethics.

Freeman, R. E. (1984). Strategic management: A stakeholder perspective. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Porter, M. E. and M. R. Kramer M. R. (2002). The competitive advantage of corporate philanthropy, Harvard Business Review 80(12), pp. 56–69.


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