How Catholic Entrepreneurs See the Future

DOMRADIO.DE: How can we run our business in a sustainable manner? A question that has certainly become much more urgent since the corona crisis. That’s one of the things you deal with, right?

Prof. Dr. Dr. Ulrich Hemel (President of the Association of Catholic Entrepreneurs / BKU): This worries us because over the last 20 years we have noticed a clear divide between business and other parts of society. Our task, especially as entrepreneurs, is to fill this gap through a new approach to society, bringing together the theme of ecological, financial and social sustainability in practice.

DOMRADIO.DE: What do you want to use the conference for?

heel: We use our conferences for exchanges between members, but also to raise awareness of value-oriented forms of enterprise management. This is our job as BKU. We want to show that companies are not only machines for profit, but also events that have something deeply human about them. We want to shed light on this human side of business and suggest how it can be put into practice.

DOMRADIO.DE: What is essential for a sustainable business?

heel: Awareness that we, as entrepreneurs, need an ethical attitude: we must learn to express the values ​​and norms we stand for. We must learn to communicate with the public, including our employees, so that it is clear what we stand for and where we want to go together. Because people are the same people who get up in the morning at home and then go to work in the company.

We want to reduce the gap between these two worlds, making companies a place of meaningful life – and not just meaningful work – without wanting to slow down the balance between private life and professional life.

DOMRADIO.DE: There are enough challenges. How can sustainable economic activity respond to the current challenges of the climate crisis and pandemic impacts?

heel: First of all, we need the votes of everyone involved. Business has learned that participation creates trust. Therefore, participatory forms of leadership are becoming more and more popular. Also in business life and contrary to the assumptions of many people who work in other fields, such as education or media.

We keep learning that the dominant picture of the economy is what it could have been 30, 40 or 50 years ago. We learn that participation, i.e. commitment that gives a voice, also builds trust in the correctness of actions. In this sense, participation is closely related to clarity and clarity of objectives.

DOMRADIO.DE: How important is what is happening politically today?

heel: It plays an important role as business has to and wants to adapt to political framework conditions, and business is particularly interested in a stable framework condition. And I think that the propensity of the economy to change is underestimated rather than overestimated. Of course there are lobby groups, and of course there are interests. But I think we need to run our business in a sustainable manner. For example, we also discussed the subsidy test.

What subsidies target the economic model of the past and which, in turn, the economic model of the future? We also agree that we would like this technology to be neutral.

DOMRADIO.DE: What topics do you want to address in terms of the social fair economy?

heel: The last government has failed to reform the pension system and the demographic time bomb for us is huge. In addition, there is a need to excite young people with education and to enable good education, also in the digital space. These are huge problems, ie digital education as the capacity for digital self-determination and the “weather resistance” of the pension system. We have made our own proposal on this and we will continue to discuss it politically. And we will be very, very happy to make our voice heard at this point.

The interview was conducted by Dagmar Peters.

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