Where’s Big Business Corporate Social Responsibility?

I read another critical article in the FT at the weekend about Alliance Boots extending its payment terms to suppliers to 75 days from the end of month invoice date, thus squeezing the cash flow of countless numbers of smaller British businesses.

Alliance Boots and other large corporations publish an awful lot about their Corporate Social Responsibilty policies, and what they do to make the world a better place. Boots for instance talks on its CSR website about  its belief that it has an "enormously valuable role to play in promoting the health of our nation", and also believes in treating its customers "fairly".

So are suppliers not important stakeholders in the Boots business? Why no mention that they, like customers, should be treated fairly?  Does anyone think about the social and economic impact of not paying suppliers on terms that they can live with? Does big business worry about smaller companies going to the wall with cash flow difficulties, or the fact that business people who run small businesses will suffer stress and anxiety as a result of their actions?

If they do worry, there is no evidence of it unfortunately… which means that business credit squeeze anger amongst the SME community will continue to grow I’m afraid.


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