Can CEOs hide behind the role of delivering profits?

Recently, I was part of a discussion where some participants, thinking along the mainstream economist culture, were defending that the role of a company business leader is to maximize profit. Their responsibility is towards shareholders and share prices. Forget about corporate responsibility, or sustainability, or the other stakeholders!

This rational is based on the fact that each institution has its particular role and the private sector is expected to maximize its profit and return on investment and to comply with regulatory standards, shifting the responsibility of organizing policies that will ensure sustainability to governments.

 In case you resonate with the idea above, I would like caution you to reflect about electoral campaigns. The USA, for example, allows for huge campaign donations coming from private corporations (which have clear agendas). Should we be so naive to imagine that once elected, government members will break free from its “sponsors’” interests and set up policies independently? Here is an invitation to watch Kevin Spacey in the role of “the super-lobbyist” Jack Abramoff.

Canada, where the campaign donations are limited & controlled, represents a better system, which allows citizens to expect more independence from its representatives.

My personal take on “CEOs that hide behind the role of delivering profits” is that it is immoral and unethical. Plunderers, like Ray Anderson mentioned, hopefully will see jail in the future

Posted in corporate sustainability, ecological degradation, economic development, government policy, sustainable development, US politics
2 comments on “Can CEOs hide behind the role of delivering profits?
  1. jeremy says:

    Milton Friedman once famously declared that it is the social responsibility of companies to increase profits! In a harmonious neo-classical economics world maybe!

  2. janekassouf says:

    I agree that it is immoral and unethical for CEO’s to hide behind the role of delivering profits and I think it is going to become much harder for them to do so in the future. Traditionally, most people would define a CEO’s role as being to maximise profits. Moving forward I think CEO’s need to be able to understand how to create value in a resource-limited world. Depletion of NK will place increased limitations on the ability for some businesses to sustain growth – CEO’s need to understand and place emphasis on driving an organisation toward greater corporate sustainability and corporate social responsibility. We as consumers are creating an environment where this is the expectation of an organisation delivering a product or service to us. Hopefully this will lead the government to recognise that policies created need to support sustainable development in order to ensure continued business growth.

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