As the patriarch or matriarch of a corporate business, you may not be fully aware of the subtle responsibilities of ownership that both you and your business carry. These particular subtleties transcend from the scope of your brand, your partnerships, and your employees into wider social, societal, and environmental perspectives. No pressure. They may very well apply to multiple aspects of your company’s activities and initiatives – both internally and, lest we forget, externally. To beneficially integrate Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) into a business model or company strategy, it is prerequisite to understand both the purposes, tasks and limitations of CSR.
There are three key fundamentals that attain to positive impact through the practice of CSR initiatives; these are social involvement, environmental action and economic growth.
To approach the epicenter of social agenda, a certain degree of corporate introspection is required. Look within the everyday instances of your company. As a business owner, how do you condition work ethics? How do you cultivate optimal work environments? How do you motivate employees and peers? The mechanics of corporate business run on human ressources, people that become the invested employees that turn the cogs of the corporate wheel. As the metaphor suggests, human ressources are an indispensable asset to economic growth and expansion. This reasons why large-scale companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Nike are well-known for putting their communities first: They create value through conditioned, cultivated, and motivated employees. In the scope of CSR, a business owner must also task the ulterior motive of ensuring social sustainability within the organization. To exemplify, we grant you five socially proactive CSR initiatives:
- Strengthen your community through anual/monthly social events and montly/weekly activities.
- Build skillsets through in-service traning courses and programmes.
- Encourage a healthier work-life balance with flexible scheduling.
- Promote a generous parental leave policy.
- Offer equal pay for particular positions across all demographics (gender, age, nationality, etc.)
Is social responsibility confined within organizations? The simple answer is “no”. As opposed to introspection, the footprints of corporate business practices create external reactions that affect instances of society. Thus, business hold a responsibility towards i.e. customers, suppliers, and communities that they rely on. This establishes an accordance through law and policies that ensure human rights. You should always be aware of your suppliers’ business practices because these are a part of your business chain. Your company should never work with suppliers which compromise any social or environmental responsibility. This could potentially hurt your company’s responsibility and image. To exemplify, here are three societally proactive CSR guidelines:
- Prioritizes local suppliers, especially for raw materials and resources.
- Avoid working with businesses that abuse employees.
- Avoid trading with countries that oppress their citizens.
Environmentally, CSR is about acting on your responsibility towards the planet. Environmental activities can be focused on practices within the company such as waste management, reducing energy use and recycling. Furthermore, you can reduce your company’s environmental impact by creating recyclable products, only work with environmental-friendly suppliers and reduce packaging. Depending on you business, your environmental responsibility can be fulfilled on different scales. Ultimately, it is about finding a practice which makes sense for your company.
CSR indeed has the potential to foster economic growth. This does not only apply to growth within the company but also external to company. Firstly, a healthy business is beneficial in a community because it brings economic growth by creating new jobs. This is beneficial for the community as it attracts more people. Furthermore, when a company experience economic growth, it allows the company to give something back to the community by for instance raising money or engaging in volunteer work.
Thus, fundamentally CSR is about acknowledging and acting on the company’s responsibility both within the company but also in the surrounding society. It should be noted that the future of your business should not be compromised for the sake of your CSR-strategy. For any company, the art of a successful CSR-strategy is to balance the company’s social and environmental responsibility while also practicing a sustainable business. Remember, the activities you engage in should enhance your business both internally and externally. That is the key to a successful CSR-strategy.
Quote of the day: “Responsibility is the ability to respond to the world. How will you respond?“