In the conversation about what is a "socially responsible" business, the formulation "Planet, People and Profit," is a good way for firms and individual owners to evaluate their business conduct and set goals to progressively become more responsible (no pun intended.) There is no agreed-upon standard for what defines a “socially responsible” business, and the subject is generously heaped with controversy.
For example, there are those who believe that being socially responsible means employers should pay workers what is called a "living wage." The living wage is determined by a formula that calculates what advocates consider the "real" cost of living in a particular area. This figure includes the local cost of food, rent, utilities, medical care, and other such expenses.
Other larger companies may actually support unionization. Find that hard to believe? That’s the case at L.J. Kruse in Berkeley, a very successful plumping firm that, among other things, installs tank-less water heaters and low flush toilets. Still other firms include their employees in programs like profit sharing, medical benefits, or flex hours, ample vacation and holiday pay, etc.
It’s probably safe to say that the vast majority of socially responsible companies believe that in order to be a sustainable business it’s crucial to have a workforce that is content, free of economic worry, and treated with respect.
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