what is corporate social responsibility

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

In today’s society, Corporate Social Responsibility – CSR is seen by some as “the right thing to do” and yet by others, as a business imperative as they reap the rewards, according to MOSS (models of success and sustainability) www.moss.org.au.

The business case remains extremely compelling, particularly as companies battle ever increasing competition and declining consumer confidence.

The world is ever changing as impact of our activities is being felt in more and more ways.

So What Is Corporate Social Responsibility? The Definition:

Wikipedia defines CSR or corporate conscience, corporate citizenship or responsible business as a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. CSR is about business giving back to society.

“A continuing commitment by organizations to balance performance with contributions to quality of life of employees – local community and society at large, so business evolves to focus on more than just the financial bottom line” is how the ACCSR (Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility) views the role of today’s socially responsible business.

Greater Transparency   

Corporate citizenship can involve incurring short term costs that do not provide immediate financial benefit to the company but instead promote positive social and environmental change.

CSR drives innovation for key industries. Informed sustainability reporting is providing greater transparency because big business is under increasing pressure from government to make a positive contribution or at least reduce negative impact.

CSR is about building relationships with customers, attracting and retaining talented staff, managing risk and assuring reputation. Success in business and commitment to social responsibility, can and do, go hand in hand.

Well managed CSR supports the business objective of the company, builds relationships with key stakeholders whose opinion will be most valuable when times are hard and should reduce business costs and maximize effectiveness.

Value of Wealth Creation To Society

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Social responsibility in business becomes an integral part of the wealth creation process by enhancing the competitiveness of business and maximizing  the value of wealth creation to society.

The U.S. version used by business for socially responsible corporations equates to operating a business in a manner that meets or exceeds ethical, legal, commercial and public expectations that society has of the business.

Companies have a lot of power in the community and in the national economy because of their huge assets and are therefore able to devote real time and money to environmental sustainability programs and various social welfare initiatives to benefit employees, customers and the community at large.

Top 10 Reasons To Be A Socially Responsible Business 

A sustainability survey report by Price Waterhouse Coopers lists  the top 10 reasons why companies are deciding to be more socially responsible as:

  1. Enhanced Reputation
  2. Competitive Advantage
  3. Cost Savings
  4. Industry Trends
  5. CEO/Board Commitment
  6. Customer Demand
  7. SRI Demand
  8. Top Line Growth
  9. Shareholder Demand
  10. Access to Capital.

Current economic conditions have created an environment in which CSR  has become increasingly challenging and acutely necessary, not just a fringe benefit. In fact, CSR often results in improving efficiency of organizations during tough times.

What Employees Think Of Their CSR!

Businesswoman does the questions

Corporate Conscience is becoming an increasingly significant phenomenon as it gains acceptance as both a business tool and a social contribution.

CSR includes a broad range of practises and activities including charitable donations, cause related branding and business strategies that address community and environmental issues.

A Manpower survey of Australian and New Zealand employees showed that donating money to charities is still the most common CSR initiative in the current economic downturn.

81% of Australian corporations donate money to charities.

77% of N.Z. organizations donated funds to charities.

74% of Australian companies donate to disasters and 33% N.Z.

62% support Aust. Community through volunteer projects.

63% in N. Z. volunteer.

66% Aust. Partner with environment friendly companies.

68% in N. Z. partner with environment friendly companies.

43% of Aust. Monitor global fair trading standards with 41% in N.Z.

62% Aust. Companies reduce their carbon footprint. 64% in N.Z.

Contribution to society is the main factor in CSR programs implemented in Australia and New Zealand.

Respondents identified positive outcomes of their CSR programs as:

  1. Improved employee morale
  2. Achieved strong public image
  3. Increased employee loyalty
  4. Increased customer confidence
  5. Increased brand recognition.

Ethical Excellence Is Alive And Thriving In Australia

It truly pleases me to see such a vibrant and ethical backbone embedded in our corporate sector, committed to values I also hold dear to my heart.

This form of CSR is a perfect tool for obtaining a great talent pool, banking some serious goodwill for when you need it.

It can become part of what makes companies famous. It builds trust. It can work miracles.

All you see in the major headlines today are stories of our youth, homeless on the streets in Australia at an alarmingly increasing rate. Our future is our youth. Come on Australia, let’s work some miracles together. Homeless shelters need volunteers, need your donations to give them a hand.

I know the staff at “Sheltered by Grace”, a homeless shelter at Waterford, Logan is opening a Shelter Shop in Beenleigh and they would love any support you can offer as an employee of one of the ethical companies thriving in their midst or much needed funding you can raise. They have the capabilities of helping so many in need but they do need your support. www.sbg.org.au/donate  You can donate money, goods or time!

Now is the perfect time to build your goodwill. It would work miracles. Let’s see some great local headlines impacting homelessness powered by YOU – our local hero companies.

About the Author Rey Zion