THE BLOG
08/14/2014 03:04 pm ET Updated Aug 14, 2014

In Search of the Elusive Corporate Date

I've been trying to date this one hot company but it wants nothing to do with me. I know it is a bit of a tease because it tells me it likes me and makes all these promises of how good we look together. And it is always hanging around -- whether I am walking in the streets or just watching television. Always whispering suggestive little words or just simply staring at me. But no matter how hard I try it just doesn't want to go on a date. I've emailed, Tweeted, "liked" on Facebook and shared my most personal data but I hear nothing but more empty promises.

Of course I can't decide if it is a women or a guy but I know it is real and must have a physical presence somewhere because it keeps telling me that it is a person. It argues like Hobby Lobby that it is a person when it wants to hold back medical benefits to some of its employees because they have religious objections. It is a person because it spends so much on political contributions to protect its personal interests the way the Supreme Court favored them in the political contribution rulings. And it must be a person because why else would it be whispering all these sweet words to me or stalking me online -- always knowing where I am, my preferences, my data, my every move and my every desire.

It would've been funny if it wasn't so sad. People are people and companies are companies. We know the law was initially written to give companies legal rights when it comes to property rights, the right to sue or be sued etc but we also know that the law can be a complete ass. But let's assume for a minute that companies have the same rights as people. Let's push this as far as we can and not allow them to select those pieces that fits them best. As a physical human I do not have the choice to only obey the laws that suits me best. I can't ignore the speed limits or immigration laws or theft or anything like that to fit my own needs. And neither should companies be allowed to pick the best bits for themselves. We demand that they get the same human rights as all of us and suffer the full consequences of being human.

As a start, I want them to pay the same rate of taxes as I do. They earn way more than me so why should they pay less? The principle of equality says they should not be treated more fairly than me. I am being discriminated against through the tax laws. We the people demand tax justice for all.

While we are on the payment issue. I want them to pay the same as me for water, electricity, waste etc. Why are they paying less for a service that they use way more than me? Buckle up Mr Company -- better pay for what you use in equal share.

We want companies to go to jail when they break the law. Judge them the same way as anyone else. How many companies went to jail because of the economic collapse? Can you say that out loud one more time?

The list of what we want from companies go on and on -- we demand that they be treated as equals. And we will treat them the way we treat every other individual. Some of them we like and some of them we don't like. We don't have to be friends with everyone in this world. And we don't have to be quiet when we see people do something wrong or do something we don't agree with. And we don't go hang out with people we don't like.

People will boycott you because of what you say and believe in the same way they don't hang out with people they don't like. It is their human right to speak out, protest and target individuals they believe do not have the interest of the larger society in mind. So when you hold back medical benefits to employees and the majority of people dislike that decision? Get ready for a boycott and don't complain. Welcome to the world of humans. People can slam you and call for boycotts because it is their personal choice.

But what does this have to do with sustainability? Everything. Sustainability is showing that you share the values of the communities around you and that you will leave the world in no worse a place for future generations. And personhood means that commitment is now at the forefront of the way you interact with society -- it has become personal. It is not just your license to operate anymore but will be defined by whether the community accepts you as a member of their society on a personhood level.

And it goes even further than that. As a member of society they expect you to not only share their values but also speak out against those people who threaten this society or who do not share these values. There is therefore an added expectation on companies to speak out against bigotry, racism, homophobic behavior, intolerance, discrimination, gun laws, etc because these are the things society have clear positions one. You have to pick a side as society always picks a side. Welcome to the real world of being a person. Embrace your personhood.
And get ready for some name-calling if you don't. We have a word for people who only want us for our money (buy this) or who makes empty promises (hello advertising).

Let's end on a positive note though. Society will embrace you every time a company speaks out on values we hold dear. When you speak out against poverty. When you speak out about injustice. When you speak out about tax dodging. When you speak out against climate change. We will embrace you and protect you. We, the people, love it when you sign the BICEP climate declaration. We love it when Absolute Vodka uses quirky advertising to show their support for marriage equality. We love it when Marks & Spencer speaks out against poverty and creates unique partnerships with organizations like Oxfam to fight poverty. We love it when Costco pays their workers a decent wage. We love it when you show us how much you care instead of picking the bits we really don't like -- like paying less taxes and not providing healthcare. We don't expect perfection but we are going to be picky about who we date. Now let's try that dating thing again. How you doin' ?

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