August is Civility Month! That’s news to most of us! Let’s start with the appropriate question – what exactly is civility? It sounds like an old-fashioned term, and it definitely is. In considering what is civility, our minds go to the term, civilization. Civility is a term given to people who belong to a particular civilization? Let’s look at the history.
How the Word Changed
Apparently it comes from a Latin word, and the concept evolved over time. Starting in ancient Rome and Greece, the first use was to describe the new republic. It made reference to men with property, who had the rights and duties of citizenship.
Then moving to France, the word changed again. It wasn’t about citizen’s rights, but instead was about behavior and dress and speech between the French lords and those who served them.
Then, during the Renaissance the term rose up a bit to mean the sense of being human and acting with humanity and respect for everyone. The concept also included polished manners and adherence to honor and duty.
Looking at the Changes
Looking at the changes in the meaning of the word civility actually gives us hope that civilizations do evolve as we embrace our humanity. Let’s look at what National Today says about what civility refers to today:
“Today’s meaning of civility is etched in every person’s mind and is a common thread that unites our behavior. As we’re gaining a new understanding of ourselves and the environment around us, we are reaching out to people, sharing our love and care, and being civil to one another. And we still have a long way to go to become a world mostly free of incivility, which is what National Civility Day addresses.”
That’s pretty impressive. Maybe civility would end hunger, bring clean water, end the dumping of toxic waste, end wars, bring justice, move us into a state of brotherhood and sisterhood – we do have a long way to go but as history shows us, we’ve been heading this way for a long time. Of course we can celebrate Civility Month.
What is a Civil Corporation?
What does or what could civility mean to a corporation? We realize our world has a ‘way to go’. That’s why AMS Fulfillment is a B Corporation – we want to Be the Change we’d like to see in the world. What change would that be? How about a world where we fulfill the word Civilization. How about a Civil Society, living with respect for one another first and foremost.
A B Corporation shows respect for the community that surrounds it. We see what is needed and what we can provide. We hire people who are having difficulty finding work, we help the homeless, and the seniors, and the families that need food, and we are happy to find ways to help.
What about the environment? We’ve been ‘green’ for a long time, and we keep finding ways to do better. No ‘greenwashing’ here. What about our employees? We want the best for them – safety in their work environment, free higher education, training for promotion, excellent benefits. What about our clients? We show them the respect of a partner – we’re in their corner.
More than One Way to Profit
We do these things not because we are a B Corporation – we are a B Corporation because we do these things. Corporations are thought of as entities dedicated to shareholders, and making a profit above all. And many do put profit above all. Those will be the ones that dispose of their waste in the cheapest possible way, sadly giving no thought or care to their impact on the environment. The corporation that cares about its impact on the environment is civilized.
Our employees have always been high on our list of priorities. There’s no embarrassing safety record here. We spend the time and money needed to keep our environment safe. Discrimination? Not here. We are a very diverse place and we enjoy each other. Great benefits and education, yes, we can afford it. We don’t put profit above the well-being of our corporate family. Never have.
Our community matters to us. We can clearly see there are areas of need and we find ways to help. And our clients are stakeholders in every decision – true partners. We don’t seek financial profit alone, we seek to profit the world we want to see. Imagine a world where all corporations do business like this – that would be a civilized world – true civility.
So… Happy Civility Month – let’s Be the Civilized!
To learn more about B Corporations, click HERE.