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Back in the game
The CEO of Adidas, Herbert Hainer, tells us how businesses can once again capture the public’s trust.
February 20, 2011 4:07 by Samuel Potter
Corporate Social Responsibility
All corporations are facing increasing global, investor, N.G.O. and societal pressures to operate businesses more responsibly by minimizing their environmental footprints. In a depressed economy, some might see this as a burden, as additional resources must be set aside to implement the necessary changes to make significant impacts. However, companies cannot disengage from society simply because times are tough. They must be fully committed, in good times and bad.
At the Adidas Group, our vision is to enhance social and environmental performance across the company and in the supply chain, thereby improving the lives of the people making our products. We strive to be the global leader in the sporting goods industry and, yes, this demands that we return strong financial results. But leadership is not just about results; it is also about how success is achieved and the way we operate our business. We love sports, but nobody wants to win if done so unfairly. This is how we approach social responsibility, believing we can succeed and do well at the same time.
Regaining trust, especially in a challenging economy, is no easy task. The companies that are most successful will be the ones that find ways to connect with their stakeholders in meaningful and authentic ways. If stakeholders feel companies understand them, they will automatically feel more connected and have a greater propensity to engage back. Dialogue and transparency are the ways forward for business, and regaining the standing of companies in the eyes of an increasingly skeptical public.