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  • Bertrand Badré

The 1997 Business Roundtable

In 1997 the Business Roundtable grouping the largest US corporate claimed: “The paramount duty of management and of boards of directors is to corporations’ stock owners”.

Fast forward to 2019. The same: “Each of our stakeholders is essential”.

Doubts were raised. Can Corporate Social Responsibility 2.0” be “good enough” for much longer?

People will know who behaved well during the crisis and who less well. Memories will last.

Interestingly some companies have chosen to mobilize their financial and human resources to support their ecosystem for real: clients, suppliers, staff or communities.

Could it signal a shift from “winners take all” to “in it together”? From “optimization at all cost” to “resilience first”?

Or will it fade away ?

The jury is out. If, like me, you tend to see the glass half full, this in itself is a good news.

But let’s face it. Long is the way.

Some just used “force majeure” to stop without compensation their purchases from Bangladesh jeopardizing entire ecosystems. And some already open the old textbook and adjust brutally and not always out of necessity.

And now the tough call: as consumers, investors, citizens ... are we ready to take side? Are we ready to say loud and clear: free riders not welcome! We are in it together!


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