ETCO Institute President looks at how corporate social, ethical and governance concerns are helping to renew capitalism
The Federal Constitution, in Article 1, defines free initiative as one of the fundamentals of the Republic, thus guaranteeing that companies can operate in the market, acting freely within the legal parameters. In this initial article, in the same item IV, the social values of work are provided, demonstrating that workers' rights must be respected (art. 7).
In these constitutional parameters, labor and capital are complemented by consumer rights, bundling the entrepreneurial tripod: capital, employment and consumption, forming the so-called stakeholders (investors, customers, employees, suppliers, community). For this concept, created by the American philosopher Robert Edward Freeman, the company's success depends on the generation of value for these agents and, in addition, this objective must also contemplate the fulfillment of legal, fiscal and environmental obligations.
The structure that is being increasingly demanded is shaped. A company, in order to achieve profit, must respect its stakeholdersotherwise, your results will be negatively impacted. Between the two ends, shareholder and consumer, there is a set of attitudes that must constitute the formation of principles and values that guide entrepreneurial action. It is true that society is attentive to attitudes that include rules of ethical coexistence.
It is interesting to note that integrity programs, combating misconduct and corruption, promoting the equity of minorities, guaranteeing psychological security in the workplace, preventing harassment and enabling employee participation and interaction, compliance with laws and regulatory obligations , fiscal and environmental, ensuring consumer rights, are intertwining behaviors, forming the pillars that form the basis of modern free enterprise, which does not fit into the concept of classic economic liberalism but, more and more, in ESG indicators.
The maturing of business action cannot be restricted to formalism without content, which points out the mission and values in a framework; it needs to be exercised, built day by day, requiring an effective ethical dimension.
It is worth saying that the organizational culture must evolve, stimulating respect, purposes and also behavioral skills, removing old sayings such as “order who can, obey who has judgment” or “good kid doesn't scream”, which must be replaced by giving an opinion to innovate and not to suffer silent injustices or abuses.
In this context, companies that are very demanding in meeting goals are questioned to create more harmonious and participatory environments.
It is true that, in the implementation of standards of conduct and integrity programs, there may be radicalisms, which is natural, but with experience, the balance is being reached. The truth is that the management of people and procedures has never been so required.
And, with the pandemic, a real revolution is underway, creating challenges, with the acceleration of home office projects, flexible schedules, in short, restructuring institutions and interpersonal relationships.
All of these changes are driving the overcoming of dogmatic attitudes towards cooperative attitudes: from judicialization to conflict mediation and composition; from conservatism to the constant encouragement of innovation; the strict hierarchy for valuing responsible participation.
This is the direction of evolution: profit at any price is no longer acceptable and only physical means do not guarantee economic and financial results. More is needed.
Companies with a design, with a soul that, in addition to the products they sell or the services they offer, is expressed in the experience of each employee, in operating not only within the law, but within the ethics to achieve the desired goals.
Individuals being motivated to integrate themselves in the construction of identity and achievement of corporate objectives. Profit, but with the appreciation of people, who want to work where they feel proud. The reality indicates that these concepts are renewing capitalism.
*Edson Vismona is a lawyer, president of the Brazilian Institute of Competition Ethics (ETCO) and of the National Forum Against Piracy and Illegality (FNCP). He is also the founder and current president of the deliberative council of the Brazilian Association of Ombudsmen / Ombudsman - ABO. He was Secretary of Justice and Defense of Citizenship of the State of São Paulo (2000/2002).