Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a business model of self-regulation that helps a company to be socially responsible to itself, its stakeholders and the public. By practising corporate social responsibility, also called corporate citizenship, companies can be aware of the kind of impact they are having on all aspects of society, including economic, social and environmental.
Engaging in CSR means that, in the ordinary course of business, a company operates in a way that improves society and the environment rather than contributing negatively to them.
Objectives of Corporate Social Responsibility CSR
Organisations are no longer evaluated solely on traditional parameters such as financial performance, or even the quality of their products or services. Increasingly, their impact on society at large is being judged, transforming them from commercial enterprises to social enterprises.
Moreover, some studies show that only 18% of organisations place social responsibility as a top priority, although 77% say it is “important”.
Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives benefit both the company and the environment (ecological and social) in which they live.
Benefits of Corporate Responsibility
Enhances brand value
Being socially responsible brings recognition to the company. It shows that your company is about more than just profits. More people start to learn about your company and the good work you do. Customers start to trust your company, and this builds an overall positive brand image.
Builds customer loyalty
Research shows that 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for products from socially responsible companies. Your customers want to feel like they are part of something. Even if not directly, they feel good about being part of a company with a vision and a willingness to do good.
“7 out of 10 young adults consider themselves social activists”. They all want to feel like they are part of a larger cause that helps shape lives. They want employers who match their ideals and are doing something to help those in need. A survey revealed that 78% of millennials said that CSR directly influences their decision to join an organisation.
Helps attract and retain talent
When employees feel they are part of an organisation that goes beyond benefits, they will want to stay. To help them achieve this, many companies now offer employees the opportunity to take time off to volunteer with organisations of their choice.
Increase employee engagement
CSR requires the help of employees. From designing and developing the CSR programme to volunteering for a cause. So when you include your employees in such important events, they feel valued and appreciated. It helps improve your relationship with them, helps build team dynamics and increases the overall level of employee engagement in the workforce.
How to implement corporate social responsibility in a company?
A corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy is the total plan a company has for building, executing and optimising its social responsibility initiatives.
There are four types of CSR categories, and a CSR strategist helps you define which one is best for your company, ways to implement it and monitor the results of your efforts.
The four areas of CSR are
A good CSR strategy builds a business case around how your chosen areas can be integrated into your business growth plan, and ensures that your initiative stays on track, achieving every KPI along the way.
Examples of Corporate Social Responsibility:
These multinational companies have changed the way businesses operate. Their CSR strategies have helped them make a name for themselves and contribute greatly to society.
The Swedish-based multinational furniture design group has been actively involved in creating safe places for children in conflict zones. Its initiatives include
Let’s Play for Change enables children to “play and develop, even in the most difficult circumstances”.
Brighter Lives for Refugees, for which they have donated “30.8 million euros to help UNHCR bring light and renewable energy to refugee camps in Asia, Africa and the Middle East”.
Coca-Cola focuses on empowering young women entrepreneurs. Its #5by20 programme aims to bring 5 million women into the company as bottlers or distributors by 2020. Its other programmes focus on providing clean water and developing disadvantaged youth.
For Levi’s, only one thing matters: do jeans contribute to water scarcity? Since the start of their Water<Less programme in 2011, they have saved more than a billion litres of water. They have reduced water use in the manufacture of some of their styles by 96%. They have also worked to support people living with HIV/AIDS and reduce their contribution to climate change.
Although new to the field, Lego is already listed as number 1 in the 2017 Global CSR RepTrak. Lego aims to use sustainable materials in all its products and packaging by 2030. This year they have decided to make some of their products from plant-based plastics.
Google is the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy. In 2017, they reached their goal of 100% renewable energy in their data centres and offices. They also offer Google Ads Grants to non-profit organisations to advertise for free through Google Ads.
Microsoft started its CSR initiatives in 1983. It has been around for a long time and remains one of the most “caring” organisations. Its Microsoft Philanthropies works with non-profit organisations and public and private agencies to empower individuals and local communities.
But what is most meaningful and timeless about being socially responsible is the sheer joy and satisfaction of doing something good for society. I think we all sleep better when we know that we have helped someone smile today.
Differences between CSR and CSR
Although the two concepts may be similar, there are differences between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate social responsibility (CSR). However, the two terms are often used interchangeably and sometimes one can even be substituted for the other.
The former (CSR) encompasses companies, corporations and all types of organisations. Corporate social responsibility, however, only includes companies. This is why corporate social responsibility refers to all organisations, regardless of their size or activity. CSR, on the other hand, only concerns companies, leaving out all other organisations.