Dow Chemical is currently soliciting questions for a Google Hangout on “Redefining the Role of Business In Society.” The Wednesday morning Hangout will be moderated by Alice Korngold, author of A Better World Inc., and feature Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris along with other “global sustainability leaders.”
I submitted five questions for the group’s consideration. I can’t say whether they’ll address any of them or whether these questions are even appropriate for this forum. This is a huge topic, and there are lots of ways to approach it. Nor do I pretend that these are the only five questions worth asking. But it strikes me that these five simple questions might help others start and structure a conversation about business’s role in society. So, after tweeting my questions and putting them up for easy reference on Google docs, I thought I’d post them here as well.
- Governance: Where’s the seat for “society” in the boardroom, and who sits there?
- Priorities: Whose role is it within the company to identify and set social priorities?
- Non-performance: What mechanisms should be in place to identify and address human rights and environmental grievances?
- Authentic social license: What mechanisms ensure all stakeholders — esp. dissenters, skeptics, opponents — are represented?
- Metrics: How does [the company; in this case, Dow] currently measure social performance, and factor it into overall business performance?