Hidden cultural cost of social enterprise

RosaLee June 28, 2009

Eve Blossom, who will be speaking at Socap, has a great Huffpo pos t on often unexamined cultural biases inside social enterprises and sustainable businesses.
There is an essential element missing from the dialogue on sustainability in business. Most enterprises consider the full spectrum of sustainability as environmental, social and financial. Organizations of all types are reviewing and revamping supply chains–their sourcing, manufacturing, distribution, and outsourcing processes.
However, based on assumptions of how we see the world, these processes also have a hidden cultural cost. We seldom stop to consider our own cultural biases and how our interactions with the world tend to clone our values onto others, often pushing-out native customs. If diversity is important to ecologies and makes markets, systems, and societies more resilient, then there should be little doubt that cultures, too, should be diverse, in order to represent all our collective learning and perspectives. Unfortunately, indigenous cultures are often being depleted, like other natural resources, when well meaning organizations engage native communities in order to "lift" them to their own standards.

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