Throughout our own evolution, humans have become highly self-admiring, believing ourselves the superior species, a species set apart from the rest by our high intelligence, cognition, and capacity for reasoning, according to the fourth volume from the In the Light of Evolution series (National Academy of Sciences, 2010, part III). We have begun to hold other species with less regard, and have benefited greatly from misusing them for our wants and needs. However, we are now at the point where our selfish attitudes and behaviours are beginning to take their toll, and our own world is rapidly collapsing around us. Humanity has reached the brink.
Many people believe the Earth we live on is doomed, the human race is on a set timer with a gruesome fate waiting for us, and the animals who cohabit our planet are all set for extinction. Many people also believe in an undeniable dichotomy between sustainable action and business activity. While it is true that often the greater consequences of business decisions are ignored in the aspiration for economic gain, I believe that despite this businesses hold immense potential for improving the way society interacts, both within humanity and with the world as a whole.
Through the introduction of new legal controls surrounding business activity, the promotion and encouragement of eco-friendly, sustainably managed businesses, and through advocating and researching the benefits of corporate social responsibility, I believe businesses have the power to inspire others, and foster significant optimism for the future.
For example, I believe there is great potential in businesses acting with CSR (corporate social responsibility) as a key motivator in their decision-making. Acting in a way that prioritises social duties can not only improve a business’ reputation, but it can be intrinsically linked to the profits made by that business. This is because considering moral factors – particularly those relating to the environment – can reduce waste and increase employees’ job satisfaction and ergo productivity, which in turn decrease costs and increase the quality of products and willingness of consumers to purchase from a business. Therefore, I believe businesses should take it upon themselves to revise the way they think about ethics in business, exploring the unrealized value in giving morality prominence when making decisions. I believe through this businesses will not only improve their impact on society and the environment, but will also inspire others to do the same.
Businesses across the globe also have the power to dictate how individuals relate, and to motivate consumers and employees to value socially positive behaviour. Businesses have complete accountability over their employees’ working conditions, and therefore it is their responsibility to make sure that employees are safe, happy, and feel like they belong and are treated fairly. If all employed citizens work in optimum conditions general mental health will improve; workers will be more motivated and stress and burnout will be less likely. Additionally, there will be fewer accidents or fatalities in the workplace. Overall, the quality of life for those employed will significantly improve, showing that businesses reevaluating their willingness to provide for their employees regardless of costs can have the power to improve life for all of humanity.
Therefore, to help protect the environment, and to improve quality of life for employees, businesses should reassess what they prioritise when making business decisions, and through consistent aspiration for a better future for everyone in said future, foster optimism for it. Through long-term thinking in the field of business, humanity can be brought back from the brink.
Book: National Academy of Sciences (US) (2010)
In the Light of Evolution, Volume IV: The Human Condition, National Academies Press (US)