Letters from the dorm: Making the world a better place through business

Letters from the dorm: Making the world a better place through business

The amazing thing about being in university and living alone is having time to yourself to think about your passions and skills and what really makes you tick as a person. It's an excellent place to explore ideas and find answers to burning questions. It's been a super busy but refreshing introduction to university and I'm so excited to explore all the activities and educational opportunities out there!

I chose business school for the money (let's be honest) and because it offers a lot of electives. This gives me the freedom to pursue my interests while still getting a solid career-oriented education. I also came here because I want to know if true sustainability can be achieved in a capitalist society, and whether businesses can make a social difference.

Two months in and I've realised that money really isn't my motivating factor. I'm far more interested in pursuing a meaningful career for social benefit, which might be possible, thanks to Corporate Shared Value (CSV).

CSV says that businesses can make money in a way that also creates value for society, by addressing its needs and challenges. This goes against the traditional opinion that "social responsibility" can only be achieved at the expense of economic profit. Businesses with CSV put society's needs at the centre of their mission, rather than on the side for publicity reasons (such as using recyclable cups or making one-off donations to charity).

Creating value in society can also increase profits. For example, investing in employee training programmes helps to develop workers' skills and efficiency, and boost their contribution to society.

Businesses hold so much power that there is real potential to create a sustainable world through CSV. Imagine if all businesses had social benefit in mind - especially in the field of sustainable development.

CSV is a lot like the Chinese proverb "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

Unlike inter-governmental organisations like the UN, or individual countries, small businesses can diversify and specialise much more effectively. They can introduce more efficient technology and encourage locals to build social enterprises. This will address long-term issues and contribute to the sustainable development of a region.

It's definitely encouraging to see that the world of business can bring about positive change. I'm excited to learn more about CSV and how to make the world a better place through business!

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Society is good for business


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