Helping Israeli business make sense of the social justice protests
A message from Maala CEO Momo Mahadav
Author: Editorial | 10/11/2011
The social protest movement and subsequent public debate that have taken place in Israel over the past few months herald, among other things, a fundamental change in the relationship between Israel’s large corporations and their stakeholders.
Throughout this period, we have been holding extensive discussions with CEOs of major companies, CSR managers and members of Maala’s board regarding the nature of this change and its implications for the field of corporate responsibility in Israel, as well as the role of Maala during the process of change.
Through these discussions, we have reached the conclusion that our annual Maala Conference is not the right format for the study and discussion which we believe to be necessary at this time, and therefore we have decided to cancel it.
Instead of the Maala Conference, we will hold a series of working groups on subjects at the core of corporate responsibility, which also related to the emerging social discourse.
The first three working groups will focus on the following subjects:
Fairness in business – One of the sentiments most clearly expressed by the social protest movement has been a desire on the part of customers, employees and citizens for companies to act with greater fairness. This working group will formulate practical insights regarding the links between corporate responsibility and fairness, while exploring the general public’s perceptions of fair corporate conduct. The discussion will be based on the insight that the term “fairness” is subjective, and that organizations, like individuals, cannot act in such a way that they will be perceived as fair by everyone, all the time.
Diversity in the workforce – The integration of ultra-Orthodox Jews, Arabs and other populations which are currently underrepresented in the Israeli workforce should be seen as a key driver of future growth in the Israeli economy. This working group will discuss economic development initiatives focusing on the groups which create new markets, economic activity and business opportunities, while exploring the role and value proposition of the large corporations in this process.
Green growth – This working group will explore the connections between business’ success and the creation of social value, particularly in light of the recent government decision to formulate a national plan for green growth as a key driver of Israel’s national economy. The group will bring together businesses, entrepreneurs and activists, with the goal of creating new engines of economic growth which address environmental and social challenges.
Working groups’ schedules and information about target audiences will be published on Maala’s website soon.
Looking at the big picture, it is clear that the role and weight of corporate responsibility managers in Israeli business organizations currently require significant reinforcement. A working group of CSR managers from Maala member network companies will work to identify the gaps between the existing tools and means of influence, and the demands of the new reality.
In parallel, Maala will continue to conduct frank conversations with CEOs and business leaders, addressing fundamental questions and issues.
I hope to continue sharing the insights attained as a result of these processes as we move forward, and to continue facilitating forums for productive, collective dialogue.
CEO of Maala