Jeffrey Levine
Blogger, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist

Tikkun Olam and Corporate Social Responsibility

Last Rosh Hashanah (The Jewish New Year), who would have imagined the year we had. We had great hopes for 2020. Who would have imagined the effect of Covid19, Unemployment, whole Industries such as Tourism being shuttered, Racial tension, and continuing divisive and anger by the people. We all feel helpless.

We also in our minds looked for a better world from our Covid19 Experience. We have looked for the silver cloud in Covid19. Crises are opportunities for change and growth. We are seeing the tremendous Investment in AI, Big Dara, Digital, Cloud Solutions andEdtech. There are some amazing Diagnostic and Digital  Healthcare innovations that are being developed. There is a lot of money pouring into these Initiatives.

Jodie Cohen, in a new book called ‘Tikkun Olam’, or heal the world, shows how citizens of the start-up nation are taking aim at the world’s latest pandemic. This book charts how in that short period of time, the Israeli high-tech industry has adapted its technologies and partnerships, and quickly created new ones, to apply itself to the biggest crisis facing the world. (Photo source – Jodie Cohen)

It is very interesting to note that a large Corporation like Credit Suisse is calling for inclusive Capitalism, Impact Investing. There are increasing trends in ESG-  Environmental, Social and Governance principles, and Stakeholder Capitalism which is not new and for example is entrenched in UK Company as far back as 2006 which states:

“A director must act in the way he considers, in good faith, would be most likely to promote the success of the company for the benefit of its members as a whole, and in doing so have regard (amongst other matters) to

(a) the likely consequences of any decision in the long term,

(b) the interests of the company’s employees,

(c) the need to foster the company’s business relationships with suppliers, customers, and others,

(d) the impact of the company’s operations on the community and the environment”

As part of my Continuing Professional Development (CDP) requirements, I did a course on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

These changing social norms have consequently disrupted outdated modes of corporate behavior while resulting in the rise of terms such as “corporate social responsibility” (“CSR”) and “conscious capitalism”. Nowadays, Corporations wield substantial economic power even more than some Countries.

“Creating a strong business and building a better world are not conflicting goals – they are  both essential ingredients for long-term success.” -William Clay Ford Jr

In Judaism. We have the concept of Tikkun Olam – Fixing the world. One of the most powerful statements ever written on this is by the Prophet Yeshayahu which we read just before Tisha B’Av,

“Learn to go good, seek Justice, straighten dishonesty, arbitrate in the orphan’s claims, come to the widows’ defense” (Yeshayuhu 1.1-17)

This is a chilling reminder that if we fail to carry our Social Responsibility, then life, as we know, things will take a turn for the worse.

Covid19 has been a wakeup call. It has highlighted the need for Government, Local Municipalities, Bank of Israel, and Banks to consider the needs of the people – the Customer. As a Director in Regulated Financial Companies, there is the term “TCF” – Treat your Customers Fairly which is an overriding principle of doing business.

Today, there is a big feeling that people are not being treated fairly by Government and Big Business.  Back in May, I wrote a blog about the initial protest on Balfour Street from People feeling the pain of lack of Government support and Sympathy.

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/needed-a-covid-19-economic-response-to-help-the-people/

There is a need for a change by Businesses for better Customer Services, TCF, and corporate social responsibility. Today it is not enough for Corporations to give Lip Service, fancy sayings on the Website and Financial Reports, and donate to a few Charities in a tick box exercise. There needs to change in the culture of Companies (and Governments) to Corporate Social Responsibility and treat your customer fairly.

“In order for corporate social responsibility to gain traction, it needs to be embraced by the organization’s leadership. Commercial entities should not only conduct their business activities in an ethical and sustainable manner, they should therefore also ensure that their governing body exemplifies the traits of ethical and effective leadership”  Quoted from my CPD Course. I previously wrote a blog that highlights that CSR can pay dividends.

The feature Video on this blog is from Sir Ronald Cohen, a founder of http://www.social-finance.org.il/ who has been a big advocate of Social Change and Impact Accounting. The Interview was conducted by Dalia Black, Head of UJIA’s Si3 Social Impact Investment Initiative quizzes Sir Ronald Cohen on social impact investing and discusses his latest book ‘Impact: Reshaping capitalism. Dalia is also the founder https://www.weaveimpact.com/

Recently, I set up https://cfo-israel.com  which is a resource for CEOs, CFOs, FDs, Controllers, and Finance Managers, BI Professionals to share ideas, technology, and business efficiency that are unique to Israel, Start-ups and SME’s doing business internationally, SAAS , online , B2B , B2C.

However, Innovation is not enough, there needs to a greater Corporate Change by Companies,  Management, and the Directors in driving Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG), Impact Accounting, Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) and Treat your Customers Fairly (TCF)

The Challenge is to combine this with Innovation, Ai, Big Data, and CSR to make our world a better place.

Further reading:

https://www.credit-suisse.com/il/en/private-banking/learn-more-about-market-trends/supertrends-2020/anxious-societies.html?aa_cmp=disp_iwm_il_0620_p-sim_na_wr_cpc_gdis_na_en_a-rem_6548&gclid=Cj0KCQjws536BRDTARIsANeUZ5-6cUyP-DlT-Ds-jrtYAjX1gXWIIk15CnYWUgv_aFF0rKU5WOGQM2MaAl7IEALw_wcB

About the Author
Jeffrey is a Blogger, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist (we can only dream) living in Jerusalem. He is a young grandfather has five kids and four grandchildren. Jeffrey provides freelance CFO and Accounting services through www.persofi.com He is looking to spread the message of Ahavat Yisrael and Jewish Unity through the music and stories through www.souldoctorstories.com and blogging.
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