PAM’s priority action programme: What does social responsibility mean for the success of a company?
PAM’s Congress in June decided on a new priority action programme, which is made up of six themes. The third theme has to do with what makes genuine social responsibility and how companies can make use of this.
The debate on corporate responsibility has a long history with established concepts, measures and standards. The public debate is often about profits and taxes in relation to economic responsibility, and ecological responsibility, including sustainable use of natural resources and recycling of materials. Less attention has been paid to social responsibility, however.
“However, social responsibility also applies to companies operating in Finland. Responsible companies do not try to generate financial returns at any cost. Their activity takes account of how their actions affect employees, customers, stakeholders, the environment and society. Companies that operate responsibly follow agreed rules and promote fair competition, and do not seek competitive advantage for example by underpaying wages or evading taxes”, says PAM’s industrial policy expert Katri Jakosuo.
For employees, employer responsibility is reflected in fair and motivating pay, training possibilities and other voluntary actions that go beyond the requirements of legislation and collective agreements.
Many companies operating in Finland already employ international measures and standards of social responsibility in their activities, but this does not represent sufficient responsibility. For some of the companies advertising themselves as responsible, responsibility only amounts to complying with the laws, but not exceeding them. That’s why it’s important to make sure that greenwashing, a familiar concept in the environmental area, does not establish itself in the debate on social responsibility and give a false picture of companies’ activities.
“Social responsibility also means that a company ensures justice throughout the production chain. Internationalisation has meant that supply chains have become ever longer and the amount of subcontracting and multinational companies has increased in Finland. These changes mean that it is increasingly hard for people to find out about the conditions, wages and working conditions with which products and services have been produced”, says PAM’s lawyer Suvi Vilches.
“In future companies will derive competitive advantage by improving service and developing new offerings. It must always be ensured, however, that the products and services offered to the customer are backed up by decent and fair operating methods that respect human rights”, the programme states.
PAM’s priority is
- that companies operating in the European Union and Finland understand that profitable and sustainable business is based on socially responsible activities. These companies facilitate collaborative activities, thereby fostering social responsibility.
- that responsibility-related branding by companies in Finland is based on facts.
- to actively promote and develop regulation, national sectoral collective agreements and global framework agreements. The priority is that as many employees as possible have the right and opportunity to organise and negotiate their working conditions.