Social contribution of companies not visible

Bilderberg Conference

‘Getting across the bridge’

Under the heading of “Getting Over the Bridge,” this year’s Bilderberg Conference of VNO-NCW focused on the social contribution of companies. For example, Philips is known for building houses and schools for its employees in Eindhoven. Why is this social contribution by companies not taking place more? And if it does take place, why is it no longer visible?

Professor Bas van Bavel, professor of Transitions of Economy and Society, comes up with a logical explanation. In the past, staff salaries were not enough to pay for a house or schooling and a company like Philips took care of this. Today, corporations pay higher salaries and taxes so corporations no longer fulfill this social function. At least, not directly and visibly anymore, but indirectly and only in an economic sense.

Van Bavel introduces the Broad Prosperity Index (BWI). An index that includes 11 indicators of prosperity, including non-economic ones such as Health and Environment. If we start using the BWI as a measure of prosperity (and not GDP), can food and agribusinesses be pre-eminent in demonstrating their social commitment in a visible way?