Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management
By Ibne Saif
Corporate social responsibility, also known as CSR, is a concept that a business has a responsibility to must act in a manner that benefits society by all means. CSR refers that a company should self-regulate its actions and be socially accountable to its customers, stakeholders, and the world at large. Corporate social responsibility is a form of international private business self-regulation which aims to contribute to societal goals of a philanthropic, activist, or charitable nature by volunteering ethically-oriented practices.
In today’s world, how a company gives back to its community, positively impacts the environment, and acts for the greater good—not just a greater profit—is critical. That’s where the corporate social responsibility of a business comes in.Corporate social responsibility is traditionally broken into four categories: environmental, philanthropic, ethical, and economic responsibility.
For companies committed to CSR, it’s important for businesses to engage in environmentally friendly practices. Corporations can be significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, waste, and natural resource depletion—but by committing to environmental responsibility, a business takes ownership over its impact on the environment.Depending on a business’s size and industry, environmental responsibility can take many different forms. Some companies take it as utilizing alternative energy sources and sustainable materials whereas rest outline it as enacting a company-wide recycling program or donating to and volunteering for local environment-focused organizations.
Being ethically responsible means ensuring a business engages in fair business practices across the board—including treating all employees, stakeholders, and customers ethically and with due respect. This type of CSR can also take a lot of different forms. Some common examples of ethical responsibility include setting a higher minimum wage, guaranteeing all materials are ethically sourced,ensuring all the employees receive competitive pay and comprehensive benefits and treated with respect on top priority.
In today’s world, it’s almost expected for businesses to give back to the communities they exist in and donate to causes that align with their company mission. When businesses do this, they’re following through their philanthropic responsibility. This philanthropic responsibility can be as small scale as sponsoring a local nonprofit’s annual fundraiser or as large-scale as donating a percentage of a business’s annual earnings to a prominent cause e.g. in education, health and community development sector.
When a business is acting with economic responsibility in mind, it is making financial decisions which prioritize doing good, not just making more money. This type of CSR is intertwined with the other types;stated above. For example, a business signs a contract with a supplier that uses sustainable materials even if it costs more. Another example of economic responsibility is when a company commits to a transparent salary system that fairly compensates all employees and makes up for past gender and race pay gaps.
Finally, corporate social responsibility initiatives, by their nature, force business leaders to examine practices related to how they hire and manage employees, source products or components, and deliver value to customers. This reflection can often lead to innovative and groundbreaking solutions which helps a company act in a more socially responsible way and increases profits. Re-conceptualizing the manufacturing process so that a company consumes less energy and produces less waste, for example, allows it to become more environmentally friendly while reducing its energy and materials costs. When a business commits to socially responsible practices, it positively influences its employee satisfaction and retention. It’s also great for brand identity because CSR initiatives help to bolster customer trust and public respect. And, of course, the CSR initiatives themselves have a ripple effect of positive good. With every new sustainable business practice and commitment to fair pay and ethical employee treatment, more positivity is brought into the world.