Responsibility of Companies/Establishments/Institutions for their Environment

Sir Sigmund Sternberg, founder of Human Business Partnership:

"By surveying businesses which have survived and flourished for years, Aries de Geus has found a link between the vitality of businesses and the vitality of the societies they are active in. Businesses draw their strength from a number of influences not inherent in the business world. To begin with, they need to rely on the intelligence, education and creative potential of their staff. Secondly, they can only profit from the strengths unique to a specific culture. Thirdly, all businesses make use of a common infrastructure built and maintained by the community. De Geus demonstrates that the toughest and most flexible businesses are those which are most deeply rooted in a flourishing society and contribute most generously to the wellbeing of that society."


For globalisation to survive and be sustainably successful in the long term it needs to build on localisation. Some businesses have understood that, even though the course of globalisation and the competition it entails cannot be stopped, they must assume responsibility not only for profit and numbers but for the people connected to their business, both internally and externally.

As a result of the pressure of globalisation businesses may continue to cut back jobs even though they have the potential for creative development. Staff will continue to perform until they burn out if they do not want to lose their job. Rich and poor will be driven further apart and the exploitation of people in the third world will demand its price too.

Worldwide networking of various organisations and areas of knowledge (schools, universities, businesses, institutions, NGO's, media and artists), all of which are ready to contribute their knowledge and experiences in an effort to prepare new ways for the future, will help to support long-term sustainable development. Awareness raising at various levels is an essential element in this process. Developing Working Environments with Purpose is our way to help disseminate these ethical principles.

The following issues are being considered for Working Environments with a Purpose:

  • Local and global ethics
  • Sustainable development
  • New forms of cooperation
  • Environmental protection
  • Interactions between generations
  • Regionalisation and globalisation, decentralisation not superpowers
  • Reduction of unemployment, reorganisation of working hours
"Working hours need to be redefined. Companies which have learnt to move away from rigid labour time and have begun to think in annual rather than hourly working time are strengthening their position on the market. Considering life hours of work enables you to make allowance for the different, creative phases of working life."
Bernhard Jagoda

All future development needs to take into account practicability and actual implementation.