The Sustainability Frontier
Edited by Urs P. Jäger and Vijay Sathe
Chapter 14: Social business
Corporate social responsibility takes many shapes and forms, ranging from small, unstructured and sporadic charitable donations for example in the form of a sponsorship of the local kids’ soccer team, to a fully integrated function that is in line with and supports the company’s strategic vision and goals. Social business as described and promoted by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, the father of microcredits and the founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, is a relatively new member of the corporate social responsibility and corporate sustainability tool kits. Just like any kind of philanthropic activity, it has the goal of creating social value without pursuing any financial gains for its investors or donors, but it does so in a business format, using a market-based approach and striving for financial sustainability. This chapter describes how social business is used in the corporate world and explores how it can be used to move in Direction 1 toward a company’s sustainability frontier, and even push it out further. After a brief introduction to the concept, this chapter will draw on international and Latin American case studies, including the current social business investment of Florida Ice and Farm Company (analyzed in Chapters 2 and 9) to describe its potential roll-out and impact on the company’s financial, social and environmental performance.
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