The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who can help create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. Business management plays a key role in the process of putting the IB philosophy in practice. The course encourages the appreciation of ethical concerns, as well as issues of corporate social responsibility (CSR), at both a local and global level.

Business does not have to just be about maximising profit. The Business management course encourages the appreciation of ethical concerns, as well as issues of corporate social responsibility (CSR), at both a local and global level. It also explores how individuals and groups interact within organizations and how they can ethically optimize the use of resources in a world with increasing scarcity and concern for sustainability.

Every business has moral implications, and the consequences of actions can be significant for internal and external stakeholders and the natural environment. Business management examines:

  • non-profit social enterprises
  • ethical objectives and corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • the reasons why organizations set ethical objectives and the impact of implementing them
  • How ethical considerations may influence employer-employee relationships
  • The difference between commercial and social marketing
  • The marketing objectives of non-profit organizations
  • How ethical considerations may influence marketing practices and strategies

Social Business

In recent years, a new model of for-profit social enterprise has emerged with a social mission built into the business model. Making profit for the organisation is still essential, but making the world a ‘better place’ is a significant part of the business mission.

Social business is a cause-driven business. In his book, “Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism”, Nobel Peace Prize winning economist Professor Muhammad Yunus describes the idea of a ‘Social Business’ that is not set up for the traditional purpose of making money, but for solving social challenges.

The business must not only cover its costs, but also achieve its social objectives, such as, healthcare for the poor, housing for the poor, financial services for the poor, nutrition for malnourished children, providing safe drinking water, introducing renewable energy, etc. in a business way. Yunus identified 7 principles of Social Business:

  1. Business objective will be to overcome poverty, or one or more problems (such as education, health, technology access, and environment) which threaten people and society; not profit maximization.
  2. Financial and economic sustainability.
  3. Investors get back their investment amount only. No dividend is given beyond investment money.
  4. When investment amount is paid back, company profit stays with the company for expansion and improvement.
  5. Environmentally conscious.
  6. Workforce gets market wage with better working conditions.
  7. …do it with joy.


Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurs employ conventional business techniques to find solutions to social problems, rather than only measuring performance and success in terms of profit and return. This concept may be applied to a variety of organizations with different sizes, aims, and beliefs.

Social entrepreneurship attempts to advance broad social, cultural, and environmental goals that are often associated with the voluntary, or not-for-profit sector. Social entrepreneurs drive social innovation and transformation in various fields including education, health, environment and enterprise development. They pursue poverty alleviation goals with entrepreneurial zeal, business methods and the courage to innovate and overcome traditional practices. A social entrepreneur, builds strong and sustainable organizations, which are either set up as not-for-profits or as profit-making companies.

Whether social entrepreneurs are altruistic, or not, is less important than the effect they have on society. Professor Daniel Bell of Harvard University has created more than sixty new organizations worldwide, including the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) that supports individuals to realize their potential and to establish, scale, and sustain, social enterprises and social businesses. The growth of the Internet and social networking sites have been fundamental in the success and collaboration of many social entrepreneurs.

Sustainable Business

Sustainopreneurship (combining sustainability and entrepreneurship) is the use of business techniques to solve problems related to social and environmental sustainability. It is a “business with a cause” – where world problems are turned into business opportunities by deployment of sustainable innovations.

Although the key objective for commercial firms is satisfying the needs and wants of customers profitably, there is also an increasing emphasis as part of a firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility, that production is also sustainable. Sustainable development is defined as:

“development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987

Sustainable development has emerged as the guiding principle for long-term global development. Consisting of three pillars, sustainable development seeks to achieve, in a balanced manner, economic development, social development and environmental protection.

The UN Commission on Sustainable Development have argued, however, for four pillars of sustainable development, the fourth being cultural. The Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity from 2001 states: “… cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature”;