Four CSR Challenges for Sustainable Businesses - By Chris Milton

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Feb 22, 2011 7:24 AM ET

Four CSR Challenges for Sustainable Businesses

Written by Chris Milton

We have become so used to the way business has been done for the last 50 years or so it's often difficult to break out of the mindset and look at what is unsustainable and how we can fix it.

Four pieces of news from the past few weeks have set me thinking, and below are my conclusions. These I offer up as four challenges for CSR businesses, ways in which they can truely change the paradigm of business to a more sustainable model.

Challenge 1 : Change Your Pricing Policy

A blog I read last week (I truely forget where) was having a rant about state intervntion in markets to protect precious resources. Why should we need state regulation, the poster opined, when we already have an adequate mechanism for protecting resources : market price.

I won't bother to argue this point by point, suffie to say the whole rationale of a market economy is that price is NOT based solely upon production costs. It is based, in a pretty barefaced way, on how much you can get away with charging.

For example: a quick Google tells me I can pick up a wirelesss keyboard and mouse for up to £27. However a wireless RS232 connector (for monitors) costs up to £158. The technology isn't that different, it's just that RS232 connectors are typically business only items so the manufacturers ramp up the price.

The challenge is to review your pricing policy. Take out the idea of how much you can get away with charging. If this brings you in drastically below your competitors then be prepared to explain the policy to your clients.

Business is about profits, yes. Greed, no.

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