Every society needs a strong foundation of values. In order to intensify the debate about the fundamental values of our society order and to draw it further into the public sphere, BDA holds regular dialogue and open exchanges with all opinion-formers with a relevance for society policy in business, academia, political parties, churches and trade unions. BDA works for communication of shared values which underlie our vision of regulatory policy, the social market economy: freedom and responsibility, subsidiarity and solidarity. Teaching and communicating values is primarily a task for family and school. But business also has to be underpinned credibly and durably by values.
Work instead of poverty
Employment is still the best protection against poverty. Hence it is essential to improve people’s employment chances and facilitate the path. Education and qualifications are the decisive condition for making inclusion even more of a reality. In a spirit of fairness, each individual must be given the chance to make a contribution to society using his or her gifts and abilities. When poverty is discussed in Germany, there are ever more calls for minimum wages and additional social benefits. But these cannot replace true inclusion in the labour market.
Strengthen the family
The family is the foundation of our society. It is the essential starting point for any individual development and system of values. Its importance for our society calls for determined action by policy-makers and business, not least given the demographic trend and the looming skills shortage. Business contributes with a family-friendly personnel policy that family and work can be reconciled, in particular allowing a balance between care and profession. This promotes equality of opportunity and strengthens families. Germany’s family policy has hitherto been oriented too much towards financial transfers and too little towards developing a family-friendly infrastructure. A new priority must be set here.
Use a moral compass
Many companies have set themselves guidelines for promoting an ethical business culture. An example of this is the “Code of Responsible Conduct for Business” which is moderated by the Wittenberg Center for Global Ethics and has now been signed by numerous companies and organisations, including BDA. In addition, an overwhelming majority of companies in Germany have committed to society in a wide range of ways (www.csr-germany.de).
Strengthen the middle ranks of society
Those in the middle contribute decisively to cohesion in our society. They need to be perceptibly strengthened. A smart labour market and education policy enables promotion chances, also and not least from the edge of society. Integration in society and profession through education and work must be achievable and worthwhile for all. This creates fairness in education and inclusion. Germany’s Mittelstand – small and medium-sized enterprises – is of central importance for employment and prosperity. It is the backbone of the German economy. Accordingly, BDA campaigns for it to be strengthened and subject to fewer burdens.