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Social responsibility and sustainability

User Avatar Blogger . 10/12/2010 11:39:21
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By Dr John Blewitt, Director of the Lifelong Learning Centre, Aston University

Business is immensely important. It generates wealth and creates opportunity. It provides people with what they want through the incredible dynamic of producing goods and services. For many people, the ‘business of business is business’ or at least this is how many people used to see it. But not anymore. Business does not operate in a social, environmental or economic vacuum.

Most of us are now well aware of the massive challenges confronting the world in the 21st century – climate change, resource depletion, energy security, global poverty, biodiversity loss and a whole range of other risks and uncertainties. Given the immense power and potential of business to address these things it is now rather short sighted, indeed irresponsible, for business leaders and other practitioners to simply restate the old ‘business of business’ dictum. We are all on this planet together. In fact, we are part of it. We rely on it for everything including our capacity to generate wealth and opportunity. This means that many businesses are now looking seriously at their activities and missions from much wider, even holistic, perspectives.

New business models are being developed that will ensure wealth and opportunity is continually created in such a way as to bestow wide ranging social and environmental improvements. To do otherwise is becoming increasingly unthinkable.

A new MSc programme has been designed at Aston Business School to help existing and future business leaders to engage positively with the social, economic  and environmental agendas through their business practices. There is a lot to do because a lot is at stake.

Each week Carole Parkes and I will be offering our thoughts on issues of the moment and discussing some of the wider trends and tendencies that are affecting business, civil society and the environment everywhere.

Find our more about the MSc in Social Responsibility and Sustainability.

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