Giving Compass’ Take:
• In this story from SSIR, authors Jaff Shen and Fan Li discusses the relationship between sustainable and responsible businesses.
• What can western organizations take away from the East Asian examples of sampo-yoshi? How might this information convince executives that being accountable to the community is smart business?
• To learn about what makes a successful corporate social responsibility plan, click here.
How many companies in the world are more than 200 years old? The Bank of Korea identified 5,586 in 2008, and more than half of them are located in Japan. What is the secret of a long-lasting business? According to that research, the answer is: Focus on earning the trust of customers, employees, and communities. This is the core value of sampo-yoshi philosophy, which was practiced by traditional Omi merchants who were successful and active in every part of the country during the Edo and Meiji periods. Translated as “three-dimension satisfaction,” sampo-yoshi suggests that businesses should seek to ensure satisfaction for the three primary stakeholders: the buyer, the seller, and the community.
Fast-forward to 2016, when the Social Innovation Laboratory Kyoto in the city of Kyoto (home of some of the oldest companies on the planet) launched a new certificate program called the “Kyoto Sustainable Enterprise for the next thousand years.” The certification has four indexes by the name shiho-yoshi (four-dimension satisfaction): the company, the customer, society, and the future of mankind.
Moving from three dimensions to four is more than a modern interpretation of what it means to be a good company. East Asia is one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing regions in the world. Export-led economic development in Japan and Korea in the postwar era and in China after the 1978 reforms unleashed a wave of prosperity that swept across the region and lifted millions of citizens out of poverty, resulting in a solid middle class that has emerged in most countries. The meteoric development comes, however, with a price: Economic growth has become the one and only goal. As Jinglian Wu points out in the opening article of this supplement, only 15 years ago economists and business leaders in China believed that as long as entrepreneurs ran their businesses well and made profits, they inherently fulfilled their social responsibilities.
Read the full article about businesses solving social problems by Jaff Shen and Fan Li at Stanford Social Innovation Review
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