Corruption is an anathema to sustainability. Corruption also makes it that much more difficult to marshal the economic and social capital required to combat climate change. Corruption eats away at the fabric of our economy and whittles away at the public’s trust. This is particularly true for social enterprises.
Fraud, bribery, extortion and embezzlement may be rampant but they are antithetical to the new form of capitalism that is beginning to take shape. Although socially responsible business is not new concept, we are developing more sophistication methods that allow us to better articulate the mechanics of an ethical enterprise. We are also creating a wealth of tools that are giving us the ability to measure and assess such efforts. The growth of sustainability, social business and cause marketing is providing a wealth of data that translates into a best practices regime.
The new book, Thieves of State, makes the point that corruption is not only economically costly it also fosters violence, social unrest and revolutionary upheavals. Corruption generates a kind of societal malaise that breeds the type of anger we saw at the Occupy Wall Street protests.
We need to do a better job of identifying and exposing corruption. Corruption should not be condoned as the cost of doing business, it must be recognized as the cancer at the core of our financial system.
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