Businesses are no longer focusing on the single bottom line and shareholders are no longer the only entity with a vested interest in how the business operates. In this day and age an organisation’s reputation is critical to its survival. As such, greater focus is being placed on positive engagement with communities and consideration for the environment.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can be defined as a business taking into consideration the economy, the environment, and the society in its daily activities. To illustrate the three aspects of CSR we present examples of how CSR is typically ignored by businesses.
There is now a greater expectation from businesses to operate in an ethical and socially responsible manner. Greater emphasis is being placed on proactively addressing social problems, participating in philanthropy, and acting fairly and responsibly to their workforce.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the realm of social media. Businesses identify social media as an increasingly important advertising medium for obvious reasons. What they may not fully appreciate is the potential for exposure to bad press from a single incident. As such, many managers are trying to implement and communicate strong and identifiable CSR policies.
CSR need not be a financial burden on businesses. For example, sustainability initiatives typically go hand in hand with saving money as it can be directly related to reducing waste. Furthermore, when CSR is communicated positively to customers it will undoubtedly increase a business’ competitive advantage. Managers must identify what opportunities are available for CSR within the allocated budget and brainstorm creative ideas. For example, engaging positively with the community might have a greater impact than donations alone.
There are many online resources managers can use to positively implement CSR in their business. Some of these are:
Certification to ISO 26000
ISO 26000 provides guidelines for Social Responsibility and how it can be achieved. It can be used to at least identify opportunities and the potential of implementing CSR in your business.
Metrics and Indices
Several indices have been developed for the measurement and performance of CSR. Business can use these CSR programs to identify where they are and where they want to go. Some examples are listed below.