Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility is about being accountable not only to the stakeholders (e.g., shareholders, management, etc.) but to the local and global community. It also means that a business considers the economic, social, and environmental impacts of producing a product or creating a service.

his essentially means that companies are considering people as well as profit, and not profit over people, both locally and globally. They ensure that people and the environment are a priority and that they are not being exploited in the pursuit of profits for the company and its stakeholders.

Janice Guadagno, Digital Consultant, JG Lea Marketing

Exploitative Practices

Exploitation can come in the form of underage workers, unsafe work conditions, low pay, unfair compensation for long hours, abusive work practices, and forced work. There is a wide range of exploitive practices, so it is very difficult to name every possible exploitive scenario. Environmental issues also fall within the CSR range as well. A common issue has been dumping toxic waste into rivers to creating high levels of greenhouse gases.

Developing countries are eager to accommodate corporations. Governments will do anything to lure them into their territory to provide a better standard of living in their country. The jobs created often allow people to buy the basics such as food and other necessities. This means that corporations can take their production to countries that do not protect workers. These vulnerable countries are in a terrible economic state, and will do anything to attract corporations. The choices for the state and its citizens are slim. A job, any job that feeds the economy is a lottery winning for them.

This practice of tapping into developing countries keeps production costs very low and profit margins high. Products produced in North America must follow minimum wage guidelines that would cut into potential profits.

What is to stop a corporation from exploiting people?

In the age of digital technology, consumers are becoming more aware of exploitive practices. Companies are held accountable and consumers are voting with their dollars for those who practice Corporate Social Responsibility. It is a good practice to get into, not only because people are demanding it, but because it is the right thing to do. To support exploitive practices communicates that there are people who deserve a better standard of living above other people.

We began to hear questions from our customers that we had never heard before: ‘what’s your company doing for the environment?’ and we didn’t have answers.

Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface, world’s largest commercial carpet manufacturer. (The Corporation, 2004)

Many corporations want to integrate ethical practices and are making it a part of their company culture. They understand that the long term benefits of corporate ethical behaviour, far exceed short-term thinking. Anderson, who is quoted above, created a task force to examine how to incorporate a CSR program after it became clear that it was important to consumers.

The benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility

People who work for companies with CSR programs are generally happier, and more productive. Employees, and people in general, often want to feel that they are contributing to a greater cause that goes beyond buffering the bottom… Click To Tweet

Putting Corporate Social Responsibility into practice

A company can support a cause in many ways. They can donate money, or allow employees to give their time to an important cause on company time. Many companies that go down this road fully integrate CSR practices into their company policies. This ensures that CSR is at the forefront of everything they do. This is a smart practice for many reasons, including:

  • Creating a healthier society and forcing other companies to live up to better practices to compete with you.
  • Research shows that staff will be more committed to a company that cares.
  • Consumers are more likely to show brand loyalty, which is on the decline overall.
  • Companies that practice CSR stand out among brands that don’t. It’s a powerful message that creates a sense of hope and justice.

What is the best way to implement a CSR strategy?

Ask employees what they are passionate about and find out what causes are important to them personally. Employees are plugged in and engaged when their voice is heard. Also, people want to be inspired to give back to the community. Their main obstacle is the lack of personal time to devote to a cause. Studies have found that people who give back to the community are healthier than those who don’t. By implementing a CSR program you are creating a healthier employee and overall positive work environment overall.

Consider this….

Millennials confuse marketers and business people alike. Many businesses are struggling to reach this demographic. However, what corporations should keep in mind is that this generation is educated when it comes to Corporate Social… Click To Tweet This generation will quit a job and start their own company just to incorporate CSR practices. That’s a big deal!

Millennials want to change the world around them and therefore choose social impact as their top reason for starting a business.

Ali Faagba, 2018

The advantages of adding a CSR program to a company cannot be overstated. It is a long term strategy that benefits everyone on both a local and global scale. People who step outside their own needs to help others are often healthier, and happier. It also builds momentum towards a better future for generations to come.

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The Corporation – A Film by Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott, and Joel Bakan, 2004

Ali, Faagba, ‘Small Businesses That Consider Social Impact Will See One Their Bottom Line’, 2018

Lain Hensley, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility Done Right: 5 Ways to Help Your Company Shine’, 2014

Source: Anna, Johansson, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility Can Actually Be a Competitive Advantage, So where’s Your CSR Program?’, 2018