A Tree as a Socially Responsible OrganisationMar 12, 2007
The leaves glistened in the sunlight. I love the way the rustling leaves on our eucalyptus trees catch the light and send it on its sparkling way.
Sitting in a cafe, I was waiting for someone whom I'd arranged to meet here. The tree stood tall outside. Birds called as they flitted among the branches. Each tree supports so much life!
Thinking about a tree as an organisation, from a rational viewpoint it supports our lives by providing timber, eucalyptus oil, shade, seeds and seedlings. It takes nutrients from the soil and makes them into the food it needs to survive, in the process producing oxygen which we need to survive.
From a wider, kinder viewpoint, a tree also supports many other stakeholders, providing homes, resting places, food and sheer enjoyment to many other living beings than just humans. Birds, animals, insects and tiny bacteria flourish within its ecosystem. The price the tree exacts is non-financial. Instead there is a delicate web of relationships between the tree and its residents, temporary and permanent, each depending on all the others, directly or indirectly.
For example the bees and the pollen, a story we learn as children. The tree feeds the bee pollen and the bee pollinates its flowers so that the tree can reproduce.
Isn’t this what the practice of Social Responsibility is all about? Not a “fluffy” sentiment, but an arrangement of co-existence based on kindness – the type of kindness that recognises the right that every living being has to flourish.
An organisation, like a tree, does not exist separately from its people. Rather it exists because of them - all of them. Whether staff, customers, suppliers or other stakeholders, people’s needs, desires and choices dictate what an organisation looks and feels like, and therefore what it achieves. Each depends on all the others, directly or indirectly. Just like all the creatures that live in a tree’s ecosystem. All are connected with each other in the co-creation of their shared journey through life.
So the essence of Corporate Social Responsibility - the focus on treating all stakeholders with equal kindness - determines the successful longevity of a tree just as it does an organisation.
Lifting my eyes to the tree tops once more, drinking in the light that flashed from those dark green leaves, I was glad I’d had to wait here.
The person I was to meet never showed up. But what a delightful gift I was given instead🥰
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