I'm partway through a blog called "Friedman Redux", hypothesizing that if Milton Friedman were alive today, he'd reconsider his oft-cited statement that "There is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits*"
My assertion is that since he said that in 1970, the world has changed so drastically - from population, to GHG concentrations, to proportion of wealth in the hands of private industry, to the ability of corporations to act across geo-political boundaries, to the crossing of planetary boundaries - that as the smart guy he was, he'd be likely to consider that our responsibilities have changed.
But… that blog is taking research to come up with all the graphs and proof points I need to make the case. And I just have not found the time.
So rather than a deep, thought-provoking piece, I'm going to fall back on the easy blog - a day in the life of a CSO six years into her job. To cut to the chase, everything has changed but these two:
- We spend a ton of time on reporting, and
- This remains a great job for the over-caffeinated.
So here's what I was up to yesterday:
7:15 Arrive at the office. Catch up on the email from Europe and Asia. Review materials sent in advance of meetings later in the day. Draft this blog.
8:30 A call with Manufacturing on some possible process improvements.
9:00 Monthly 1x1 with Chief Risk Officer. (Today, we're working on our next materiality assessment )
10:00 Call with account team from a customer that wants to collaborate on some big sustainability projects.
11:00 Meet with Legal and Product Security Office to review training on downstream human rights.
12:00 Grab the shuttle to another building. (Hoped to grab a sandwich, too, but that didn't happen.)
12:30 Con call with a customer to explain our take-back policies.
1:00 Meet with Business Law team to review where to go for help if needed on EMC's and/or customers' sustainability-related contract terms.
2:00 1x1 with head of Global Real Estate to discuss implementation of carbon pricing and other joint initiatives.
3:00 Grab shuttle back to my office. Glance at email; answer the most pressing and delete a few so I feel better about the backlog. (Now, grab a sandwich.)
3:30 Set aside the rest of the day to knock out a few more pages of editing our draft Sustainability Report (and dispose of a few more emails).
My to-do list is so long that I'd be embarrassed to post it. But here are a few of the more immediate things:
- Write the CSO letter for the upcoming Sustainability Report
- Do expenses from my trip to London to participate in the Tech Camp on Modern Day Slavery
- Make an appointment with Bob (my hairdresser, and yes, I do have a life!)
- Prepare my presentation to executives next week on our carbon pricing proposal
- Develop the template for building expected costs of carbon into capital investment models
- Meet with HR to look at some possible new sustainability-related employee benefits
- Read through a rather high stack of proposals from NGOs, startups, etc.
- Plan upcoming travel for Graham Institute's External Advisory Board meeting
But, of course, it's reporting season. So at the top of my list will be the reviews of data and prose for the Sustainability Report. And for our CMR. And CDP. And CDP Water. And CDP Supply Chain. And DJSI.
Oops - gotta run. Later…
*Full quote is "“There is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud”