The importance of CSR is increasing in a world strongly influenced by corporate trends and decisions. Corporate social responsibility refers to a company’s policy of protecting consumers, employees, and the environment in addition to its own bottom line.
The activities of large corporations often have a far-reaching impact on the environment and in the lives of the people involved with them as consumers or employees. Despite this, some multinational corporations are not truly regulated by environmental or civil laws. If a manufacturing plant produces too much pollution for local regulations, for example, some companies will move the plant to a state or country with more lenient regulations rather than seek more environmentally friendly production methods. Some corporations use such methods to evade wage and labor laws as well as consumer protections.
Benefits of corporate social responsibility
The Unilever success story is well publicised, but it can be hard to identify with a business of such size. However, the great news is that even the smallest of organisations benefit when putting CSR at the heart of their business.
Whilst profit may be the end goal for any business, responsible businesses have managed to attract more investors, reduced their risks and addressed stakeholder concerns. With there barely being a day in the news where a business hasn’t made an embarrassing error of judgement, more interest is being show in business demonstrating CSR.
The benefits from adopting CSR can be less obvious than say, helping the environment. For example, a survey from Net Impact found that 53% of workers said that “a job where I can make an impact” was important to their happiness. Interestingly, 35% would take a pay cut to work for a company committed to CSR.
Examples of corporate social responsibility
CSR isn’t about giving money to charity, or just asking people not to print emails for the sake of Mother Earth! First and foremost, businesses exist to make profit, and this isn’t meant to change as a goal. The reality is that no organisation operates in isolation; there is interaction with employees, customers, suppliers and stakeholders. CSR is about managing these relationships to produce an overall positive impact on society, whilst making money.
So how do you put CSR into action? Below are a few examples of what businesses around the World are doing.
Making ‘green’ fashionable: The Body Shop
The Body Shop forged a reputation as a responsible business long before it became fashionable. They were one of the first companies to publish a full report on their CSR initiatives thanks to founder