December 18, 2012, by ICCSR

Does business have a heart?

In November the final film in our annual series – Canned Dreams – was introduced by Alison Ward, former Head of Global Corporate Social Responsibility at Cadbury.  Here she shares her reflections on the screening.

The documentary – Canned Dreams, follows the personal stories of people involved in making a simple can of pasta.

When I watched Canned Dreams two things struck me:  Firstly the impact business has on the individuals and resources which are part of the supply chain.  And second how often the dreams and aspirations of individuals are met or failed by the work they do.

Business has a clear accountability to develop sustainable supply chains.  Giving opportunities for people involved at each step of the process and mitigating the impact on the environment.

But as the audience asked after the film – “Does business really have a heart?”

Good question. 

Creating the business case to take action in supply chains ensures sustainability.  But are the sustainability commitments we see from business just based on securing future supply and only financially motivated?

I don’t think so.

Having worked in chocolate industry over the last eight years – it’s been the people I have met who have challenged and inspired me. 

Whether live interview on social conditions on cocoa farms with Jeremy Paxman.  Or Violet Asantewaa leader of the Women’s Union in the village of Bipoa in Ghana, who told me she wanted to sell more cocoa under Fairtrade terms.

Business men and women don’t leave their values at home when they leave for work. And whether it’s the CEO or a company volunteer, the impact of meeting people at the start of a supply chain is enormous.

The combination of personal values with business value is a powerful basis for change.

By Alison Ward, Sustainability Adviser to business and NGOs.

Image by: cuorhome. Reproduced under Creative Commons License CC BY-ND 2.0  Source:

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