The basic purpose of a business is to make a profit for its investors. But solely focusing on profits does not make a company impactful. Various studies have shown that businesses that spend time on social activities not only attain a good reputation among consumers, but also have higher employee satisfaction. Here are four ways that businesses can contribute to peace and social harmony.
1. Bridge social divisions
Societies tend to have their racial, religious, and ethnic divisions that might be hard to bridge. Businesses can make an effort to smooth out such differences by focusing on hiring people from all communities. Otherwise, these communal differences may force people to segregate themselves and eventually come to hate one another, especially if there is a difference in social status.
For instance, in the 1990s, a municipality in Mindanao in the Philippines was known for violent conflicts because of tensions between the Christian and Muslim communities. When a banana plantation was set up in the region, the business owner realized that the conflict stemmed from the fact that one religious community had more people in powerful positions in society. The owner decided to employ supervisors and managers from both groups, showing partiality to no religion. This made an impact in the region, eventually helping to ease the conflict between the two religious groups.
2. Avoid unethical operations
Overlooking human rights violations in favor of earning profits is one of the worst things a business can do. When a company learns that some of its partners may be involved in such gross actions, it is their responsibility to cut off relations with such people. This will send a message to the world that violating human rights won’t be accepted. A great example would be Badger Sportswear, a U.S. sportswear company.
In January this year, media reported that one of the company’s Chinese suppliers was using forced labor from the Xinjiang region, a place known for violent persecution of the Uyghur community. The company immediately ditched the supplier and ensured that it never became a participant in such crimes. “Out of an abundance of caution and to eliminate any concerns about our supply chain given the controversy around doing business in north-western China, we will no longer source any product from Hetian Taida [the supplier] or this region of China,” the company said in a statement (The Guardian).
3. Pay taxes
Some businesses use fraudulent means to avoid paying taxes to the state. This alone can be a trigger for social breakdown. If people in a society feel that the “rich are getting richer” illegally while the regular person is burdened with taxes, it can incite mass social protests and even conflict. Politicians can use such incidents to fan the flames of hatred in a bid to attain power. By paying their fair share of taxes, businesses prevent such things from happening. Plus, timely tax receipts allow the government to carry out their development and social welfare plans, thereby improving the conditions of society.
4. Contribute to local development
Businesses should also set aside a certain portion of their earnings to develop the community they are based out of. Maybe a school can be set up to educate underprivileged kids or a skill development center can be started to impart relevant knowledge to adults, young and old. Businesses should typically find such charitable contributions will provide them with tax deductions as well.