Yet anyone who criticizes present practices should also assume the responsibility for providing a viable alternative so the discussion moves the conversation forward. That is the purpose of this post, to provide an outline of a new social contract between brands and consumers that enables both parties (and the world at large) to benefit from the social technology that now connects them.
The following ten points serves as a foundation for the We First concept but it is not meant to be definitive but rather a starting point for a conversation about the respective roles that brand and consumers play in a more sustainable practice of capitalism. As such I invite you to interrogate, shape and finesse the points below with a view to the social licence under which brands now operate and the increased responsibility that consumers must now assume if they truly want a better future.
The following We First social contract is based on the belief that selfish Me First thinking hurts business and the lives of millions of people around the world. It asserts that a brighter future depends on an integration of profit and purpose within the private sector. To achieve this, companies and customers must become partners in social change to build a better world. It believes the following principles should guide our business practices:
1. We believe companies have a right to innovation, entrepreneurship and profit making while consumers have a right to a healthy society and planet to live on.
2. We recognize an interdependent, global community requires an expanded definition of self-interest that acknowledges the needs of all inhabitants of the planet.
3. We define success through prosperity that means the well being of many, not the wealth of a few.
7. We believe that social technology, business, and shopping have the potential to change our world through new modes of engagement, collaboration, and contribution.
8. We believe the values that inform our daily practice of capitalism include: sustainability, fairness of rewards, fiscal responsibility, accountability, purposefulness, engagement, and global citizenship.
9. We believe that corporations and consumers are duty-bound to serve as custodians of global well being for this and future generations.
10. We believe that the private sector must cooperate, collaborate and coordinate with governments and NGOs to create a unified force for social good.
By working together to re-frame our thinking we can start to shift our behavior which is the first steps to a practice of capitalism that is both sustainable and fairer for all. Fire away with any thoughts.
Reading Time: 1 minutesSimon Mainwaring is the founder of We First, a leading brand consultancy that provides purpose-driven strategy, content, and training that empowers companies to lead business, shape culture, and better our world.