SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY BLOG
Rich and powerful names making the world better and using Social Responsibility
Marie Vander-Heiden (CBS) MA MBA BEd
Rich and powerful business faces are everywhere, but it is those who do good things with their wealth that initiates a positive reaction from the rest of the world. Social Responsibility is ‘BIG’ for big business. How we choose to affect change and create a desirable manifestation, both within and outside of our business environments, is truly all about the ‘ways’ in which we make, spend, entrust and give away our money. So what does social responsibility really mean? It is organizations and people behaving ethically, and showing sensitivity toward cultural, economic, social and environmental concerns. The act of social responsibility is a moral ideology or doctrine, that of which an entity, like an organization or individual, has a responsibility to act that will benefit society at large. I have researched several well-known names that we commonly hear about throughout global media-based networks, and how their philanthropy and socially responsible business actions are making the rest of the world take heed.
We all know Bill Gates and his achievements with the Microsoft empire. Many have also heard of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation which has to this date, contributed more than 28 Billion dollars to helping alleviate some of the world’s poverty, poor health and educational failures. Trust me, the long-handed version of the actual programs and developments of their foundation, leaves me exhausted as I move through the list(s). Right next to the Gates foundation is another wealthy philanthropist, friend and co-trustee, Warren Buffet. Today Mr. Buffet, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has contributed more than 8.3 Billion to charity and has been a great role model for Bill and Melinda right from the start.
The foundation Carlos Slim Helu & Family was created by the chairman of TelMex, Carlos Slim, who today is the richest man in the world according to Bloomberg and Forbes, March 2011. He has also joined the ranks, rather is one of the leaders in socially responsible action. Mr. Slim has similar CSR initiatives, however, most often his ideal action is to invest in projects that will fight against poverty by creating jobs. A fundamental part of Carlos Slim Helu’s business culture and strategy is social responsibility. They are focused on their communities in which they operate and maximizing their companies positive impacts towards them. Together, with a variety of institutes and foundations and their related programs, they are aiding in education, employment and nutrition and fighting poverty. These well known philanthropists and revolutionary faces of business have done more than their fair share of acting and showing the ways of social responsibility, both locally and globally.
Another great name and well respected, socially responsible giver, philanthropist and entrepreneur, is Jeff Skoll. Mr. Skoll got his start in business as the first president and actually, the first full-time employee of eBay. He is the chairman and founder of the Skoll Foundation (1999, Social Entrepreneurship), Skoll Global Threats Fund (2009, focuses on 5 global issues: pandemics, water scarcity, nuclear proliferation, climate change and Middle East conflict), and Participant Media (2004, Jeff believed that the power of film would inspire and compel others towards social change. To date: 4 Academy Awards, 18 nominations and 25 films). There is also, the flagship program for social entrepreneurs, the Skoll Awards; the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship which also co-produced the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship held at University of Oxford; and finally, Takepart.com (2008, on-line Social Action Network) which was launched by Skoll’s Participant Media. I would love to continue to go on about Jeff Skoll and his socially responsible ambitions (past, present and future), but I’m afraid I would run out of room in this article. I will say however, Jeff Skoll’s vision is to bring Life to a ‘sustainable world of peace and prosperity’ and today his vision has marked many, many positive milestones to that regard.
As I read about the many rich and socially responsible people on our planet, who are giving their time and money to benefit the world as a whole, I think about the word, ‘rich’ and question why I used this instead of ‘wealthy’. Maybe it is because when I think of the world rich I think of what it encompasses and that is not just money or assets, rather it is what I imagine each of these amazing business people would feel on a personal level, each and everyday. Can anyone really say that they wouldn’t do the same if they had the opportunity to ‘save the world’. Well, that may be a little extreme but I think that these people I have named, and there are certainly plenty more, have a very fulfilling life, not only because they make a large sum of money in business which allows them to promote and pursue their visions, goals and dreams, but because they know how to spend their earnings in a socially responsible way, often creating more cash flow along the way. These world figures, philanthropists, leaders in business and social change, each contribute as a Steward to the earth and its people, thus gathering a large, unprecedented respect from so many of the world’s population and businesses alike. Truly, because of people like these few that I have had the joy of writing to you about, I will always aspire to achieve more, for the greater good of all.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marie Vander-Heiden (CBS) MA MBA BEd is an approved Certified Business Specialist (CBS) with the Academy of Business Strategy and her specialist subject is social responsibility. She has achieved an MA in Environment Education and Communications, an MBA featuring Accounting, Corporate Finance and Marketing and an BEd from the Royal Roads University BC Canada. She has been employed as a Naval Communicator, Investment Manager, Consultant and Teacher and has experience within the defense, coast guard, oil and gas, clean energy, financial services and education industries. Her clients or employers have included the Federal Government – Department of National Defense, Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Canada), the Canadian Coast Guard, Carwithen Investments and Iwaki City Fukushima Prefecture. She has geographical working experience in the United States of America, Canada and Japan. She speaks English, Japanese and French. Her service skills include social responsibility and environmental sustainability (SRES), corporate social responsibility CSR, communications, renewable energy and utilities and cost reduction.