Influential Voices: Social Responsibility

This month, Paul Borowski’s blog post focuses on Social Responsibility.  As I work in the Electronics Industry, it would be hard to ignore this topic. Increasingly, electronics OEMs and members of the supply chain are joining the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition or complying with the Electronics Industry Code of Conduct.

To justify these efforts to shareholders, the focus is on becoming more sustainable, and using triple bottom line results. When an organization uses their management system to implement a focus on social responsibility, the same benefits we see in our traditional use of management systems, for example quality management system or environmental management system, should be seen by an organization.  In other words, in implementing a management system based on ISO 26000, an organization will be in a better position to leverage the benefits to becoming more sustainable.

The other side of this story is what we choose to drive as consumers. Over the past year, I’ve watched closely as the pundits discussed abuses at Foxconn and skewered Apple for their supply chain sustainability. Yet consumers continue to buy the iPhone and iPad at a rapid pace, sometimes waiting hours in lines at product launches. I get e-mails at home that invite me to host a Hershey chocolate house party and e-mails asking me to boycott Hershey because of their failure to buy free trade chocolate and their human rights abuses. What kind of messages do we send to the marketplace with our choices?

If the world is truly at a tipping point, we need to make the personal choice as quality professionals to push in the right direction, by focusing on future generations and sustainability. We have the tools in our quality toolbox plus ISO 26000 to help lead the charge. Are you ready for the challenge?

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