Documentary Report: Not Business As Usual
The movie got my attention and interests right from its title “Not Business As Usual”. The title got me wonder how “usual business” is defined in the movie, and how their being un-usual is reflected throughout the scenes. The title was not actually explained specifically in the content of the movie, but to my understanding, a usual business is a business that operates for the biggest goal being profit and maintaining the interest amount for their shareholders. As the movie progresses, it gradually comes to my knowledge that an out-of-ordinary or a modern business is one that takes into consideration not only profit but also their impact on the environment, the society as well as other relationships.
The movie was one of the proudest production of Institute B and has been listed in quite a few documentary awards throughout North America and Australia. The movie has a focus view on capitalism and sacrifices it has caused on the road to its success. The stories revolve around promising entrepreneurs who have found and tried innovative approaches to incorporate sustainable development into business.
Included in the movie was a combination of different shots of movie-making, namely incorporating past documentary shots of assembly line and interview shots as well as numerous practical footages of how modern businesses are conducted, and how they should be conducted onwards to bring out the best results for both the business and the society.
“Not Business As Usual” started off with the repetition of the word “capitalism” throughout several scenes. According to the explanation in the movie, I understand that characteristics of capitalism include being an economic system in which private or corporate ownership takes control of the factors of production, namely labor, natural resources, capital goods and entrepreneurship. With great strength and ability comes great responsibility, but the people owning corporations were not fully aware of the fact that profit was not the only thing needed to be considered when making business decisions.
Corporations were in the hands of people who value profit as the most important feature that determines the success of their business in particular and their life in general, who specifically in this case were baby-boomers. As a result, profit was believed to be the ultimate goal to achieve, leaving out of consideration most critical aspects like social impacts, supplier relationships or the well-being of employees, especially those who are constantly working in hazardous environment.
The movie also revolves around the difference between Shareholder vs. Stakeholder, and watching this part was when I actually had better understanding of the difference between the two concepts than ever before. Specifically, a corporation operating for the sake of shareholders means that the business owners are able to maintain or raise the dividends that shareholders receive quarterly or annually, ensuring that the amount shareholders are “shared” is equivalent to their investment amount.
The main focus of the movie is young entrepreneurs, with their ultimate care being not profit, but eco-sensitivity, sustainable development and rights, and entrepreneurs tried to reflect all those core values into the operation of their businesses. As consumers are more and more concerned about the environment and the impacts corporations have on the society, young entrepreneurs turned that into opportunity and create meaningful as well as sustainable brands. It is becoming more and more of a mandatory feature for corporations to have Corporate Social Responsibility activities and report throughout their operation, otherwise those corporations would be considered meaningless and gradually die.
Young entrepreneurs’ way of managing, as reflected in the movie, is almost completely opposite from that of Baby Boomers mentioned previously. Aside from Corporate Social Responsibility, young entrepreneurs value experience, trust and empowerment. As for management style, young entrepreneurs reflected in the movie seemed to possess the Democratic Style, in which contribution is expected from both the manager and their fellow employees.
Watching the movie has offered me brand new perspectives of the conducts of business, especially in terms of sustainable development of business and management style with regards to the difference with businesses back in the days of Baby Boomers. All those perspectives got me thinking about how I would conduct my business in the future as a service provider in the Hospitality field.
The hotel and restaurant industry has long been known for their immoral ways of managing waste and energy consumption, and it is not until recently that the situation is aware and taken care of properly. Seeing how things could be affected without proper notice, I look forward to contributing or running my business with integrity and ethics to avoid the worst circumstances there could be, or even better the situation of the society and the surrounding environment.
Another issue I should avoid is Green Washing, which means claiming to be sustainable but only showcasing false advertisement of green practices, when in fact, they are not really applied and properly conducted as expected. In order to avoid that, training is important to ensure that even when supervision is not around, employees are still empowered to conduct activities up to standards of operation.
In conclusion, I believe that “Not business as Usual” is a great movie of the topic CSR and has greatly impacted me and my future self in the Hotel and Restaurant industry to better not only the environment specifically but also the reputation of the industry in general.