Business and Society
How the Swiss Alps can save the world
Imagine wind blowing in your hair while witnessing breathtaking sceneries of mountains surrounded by Lake Léman. How can such a pristine lake exist in our era of climate change? Perhaps, Lake Léman’s home, Switzerland, can provide an answer.
Through this course, I explored how companies endorse corporate social responsibility by implementing policies to limit waste as well as recycling inititatives. Corporations are not the only ones addressing climate change. I remember being surprised to the fact that Switzerland was the first country to add in its constitution a “green economy” that strives to “achieve a balanced and sustainable relationship between nature and its capacity to renew itself”, making it a world-wide leader in environmental health and ecosystem vitality.
Buses running on green energy. Strict recycling laws with steep fines. A cultural love for nature. Along with its leadership in innovation, Switzerland is a pioneer in green technologies where many startup companies bring new ideas to the table. With its legislative infrastructure, I believe that the Swiss attitude towards eco-friendliness that is seen virtually across all Swiss companies can serve as a business model to successfully implement green programs.
One such Swiss company is Novartis, one of the world’s top sustainable companies. Novartis has notably given back to the world community through one of its key programs, the “Novartis Carbon Sink Forestry”. where Novartis creates corporate social responsibility while still achieving profitability through this goal: “[empowering] rural communities to adopt sustainable agro-forestry practices”.
Novartis provides an eco-friendly model other business can follow. While Novartis is investing its resources on environmental issues, it is still profitable and creates social value that inspires others to venture. In support of the main thesis of “Why Nations Fail” by Acemoglu, a country’s legislative infrastructure can empower companies to leverage it to their advantage. For example, according to an article by PCMA, Switzerland is cited to have the “most advanced and innovative environmental legislation” that “provides a permanent incentive for corporation to be innovative in the cleantech sector”. By choosing a country with aligned interests, a company needs not see it as a burden on profitability or revenue to venture in rescuing our forests. I believe it is crucial to reinforce a business’s eco-friendliness value because there has been an increasing trend for global companies and countries to focus on environmental issues. For example, on a larger scope, France passed a law that requires rooftops of commercial zones to be covered in plants or solar panels and in return offers a discount on energy fees. More specifically, the “law was also made less onerous for businesses by requiring only part of the roof to be covered with plants, and giving them the choice of installing solar panels to generate electricity instead”.
When living in a country with bountiful nature, residents value green spaces which is why Swiss’s exemplary dedication to environmentally friendly lifestyle should serve as a model to inspire other nations. Concerns for climate change are only growing and the Amazonian forest is burning. Enforcing environmental protection is urgent and taking part is the responsibility of all, including companies.
Ny engaging in corporate social responsibility, I believe companies can engage with consumers’ values but also ameliorate their own operations. I believe that social enterprises must go above and beyond by leveraging their know-hows in marketing and core competencies to provide offerings that meet demands of consumers in developing countries This is the case of Coca-Cola in Brazil with its Coletivo initiative. This project focused on training low-income youth as retail workers which, in turn, enhanced two essential spheres in marketing – product distribution and brand equity.
Through this learning laboratory, marketers directed a qualitative research by assessing the richness of the managers’ narratives when conducting unscripted interviews that relied on secondary data such as newspapers, magazines, and literary review on Social Business.
Coletivo’s social business model differentiates its marketing strategies by focusing locally, rather than implementing marketing tools designed to reach lower-income consumers. Indeed, this model gains insights regarding their challenges, environment, and culture by taking field trips and conducting extensive research. As a result, Coletivo enhanced product distribution by reaching remote areas through point-of-sales and using the marketing mix to cater to their needs. The interviewees claim that this model can be replicated in any other country, but also stressed the importance of identifying the locality’s social demand.
Through these marketing tools, the Coletivo Project has fostered social inclusion by promoting education and increasing income in small rural communities’ producers that can, in turn, be used in Coca-Cola’s value chain. The marketers claim that by applying their know-how in marketing, Coca Cola is doing social business in Brazil by empowering local communities and gaining insights the firm can leverage in developing its marketing strategies to respond to the communities’ needs.