Businesses Taking Action
This project explores the relationships between local businesses, consumers, and ecosystems, creating a sustainable community for the future.
Diagram created by Gabriela Safay 2020
In an increasingly globalized market, companies play a vital role in every aspect of modern life. SOCAN’s Business Action Survey provides a platform for businesses to report on how their behavior positively affects the social and environmental health of communities in Southern Oregon. Based on research gathered from existing frameworks and theories about corporate social responsibility, this survey allows businesses engaged in sustainable behavior to demonstrate that behavior and promote their actions/efforts through SOCAN.
Businesses will answer questions to the best of their ability. Answers will then be posted on SOCAN’s website.
Economic growth and environmental sustainability do not have to be opposing forces. This project aims to support the businesses that are acknowledging this reality and moving forward with intention.
The survey is broken into two parts- Environmental Action and Social Action
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 80% of environmental impacts among businesses come from preventable waste based on design flaws and old models. This survey places a focus on waste-management and commitments towards minimizing or regenerating waste along the supply chain. Businesses should reflect on their overall environmental stewardship, and how it is incorporated into the company’s goals and missions. Goals are more likely to be achieved when there are specific targets in place, especially when effectively communicated to the entire workforce and supply chain. Additionally, when environmental performance is evaluated thoroughly, companies are more likely to account for negative impacts and set future targets to mitigate them. Direct engagement with the local ecosystems, as well as employee training and workshops, go above and beyond what is expected and contribute to a higher level of stewardship.
Social sustainability is often overlooked but is just as important as environmental sustainability for the health of the ecosystem. Social business activities include the health, wellbeing, diversity, and inclusion of the workforce, engagement with community members, philanthropic action, fair labor practices, and more. Social injustices and climate change are directly connected and often feed off of one another, and climate change is proven to disproportionately affect underrepresented communities. Businesses can help mitigate this by engaging in social action, and consumers can help by buying from and uplifting minority-owned businesses.
- Identify businesses making a positive impact.
- Provide a resource for consumers to more effectively vote with their dollar and know that they are supporting businesses that align with their values.
- Increase the demand for ethical and transparent business behavior in Southern Oregon.
- Encourage businesses to set future targets for social and environmental stewardship.
- Support local businesses taking action.
- Encourage buying local.
- Highlight BIPOC and LGBTQ+-owned businesses.
- Shape a future where business accountability is not only encouraged, but expected.
- Promote a safe and equitable society for underserved community members.
To hear more about the project, listen to an interview with project leaders Gabriela Safay and Kathy Conway on the Jefferson Exchange: Getting Local Businesses Engaged In Reversing Climate Change on the Jefferson Exchange.
Braungart, Michael, Cradle To Cradle: Remaking The Way We Make Things. New York: North Point Press, 2002.
Carroll, A.B. Carroll’s pyramid of CSR: taking another look. Int J Corporate Soc Responsibility 1, 3 (2016).
Spence, L. (2016). Small Business Social Responsibility: expanding core CSR theory.Business
Visser, W. The Age of Responsibility: CSR 2.0 and the New DNA of Business
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