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Facta, Non Verba

I write this article on the usual rapid approach to Christmas and inspired by the challenge, “What does being a good corporate citizen mean to you?”

Years ago, corporations were inspired to adopt a term called the triple bottom line; the triple is referring to not only financial (as in profit) but also social and environmental values. In line with the Christmas timing, I’m sure we’re all familiar with the three ghosts from the Christmas Carol – ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet to come.

This article starts out with me being a little cynical, but trust me I do believe in the concept of good corporate citizenry.

Unfortunately, with all measures of value, we see a lot of back-slapping and ‘well done you’ within corporations, but does the measure maketh the corporation? In some very high profile cases, I think not.

We see banks sponsoring charities and then hauled before Royal Commissions on their failure to protect individual customers. We see aged care organisations espouse their quality homes and environmentally friendly communities and then hauled before Royal Commissions for a lack of care of elderly residents.

I don’t think any of us is perfect, but I do think corporations need to be a little slower to the PR release for their good works, and a bit faster to the service part of their business when it comes to getting the basics of delivering on promises right.


This is less about the measures, and less about the column inches of the news story and more about it being in the mind, heart and soul of the owners, shareholders and staff of an organisation.

We’re seeing a lot more purpose led businesses these days, so I think we’re on the right track. I think what these newer organisations are doing is aligning all operations with the social purpose, which then will lead to customers and revenue and profit as a result.

Think of Thank You Water, think of Inspire Accountants, think of 4Ocean, and you’ll see the leaders in this regard.


Don’t promote your triple bottom line value as a ‘please do business with us’; just do it and then thank customers, shareholders and staff for being on the journey when you actually hit the milestones that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt you are a good corporate citizen.

Facta, non verba – this is Latin for deeds, not words, and this is what I believe being a good corporate citizen means to me.

Originally published on Smallville.

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