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Corporate Social Responsibility: 5 Ways It Impacts Society

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by Startacus Admin

The lowdown on Corporate Social Responsibility - what it is and some of the key ways that it can have a positive impact on our society...

pexels-photo-3184298Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a business model that is self-regulated and helps an enterprise to be socially accountable - to the public, its stakeholders, and of course, itself. By practising corporate social responsibility, businesses are able to have a conscious impact on all elements of society, including environmental, social, and economic.

In this post, we will take a look at CSR in further detail, helping you to understand some of the different ways that this can impact society.

What is corporate social responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility is a broad business concept. It describes a business’s commitment to carrying out its business in an ethical manner. This means managing the processes at your business while taking into consideration the environmental, economic, and social impact, as well as considering human rights.

Examples of corporate social responsibility

There are many different ways that you can implement CSR. A good example is this guide on how to start a corporate volunteer program. Corporate volunteering is an effective way of contributing to the community while engaging your employees as well. This is one of the most effective ways of implementing CSR.

There are a number of other CSR activities that you can implement, including:

The development of community and employee relations

  • Socially responsible investment
  • Contributing to social and educational programmes 
  • Improvement of working conditions and standards
  • Responsible sourcing, for example, using only fair trade ingredients
  • Environmental management, for example, sustainability and waste reduction

How does CSR benefit society?

photo-1560252811-2ab1e44ce202.jCSR initiatives can be the most effective way of contributing to society and its people. Below, we will take a look at five of the different ways corporate social responsibility can benefit society:

1. Volunteering

There is only one place to begin when it comes to CSR and the benefits to society, and this is with volunteering. Businesses encourage employees to do something freely (on business time) so that they can give back to society.

Some of the different places where people can volunteer in the local community include:

  • A disaster relief organisation
  • A food bank or homeless shelter
  • Animal adoption centres and shelters
  • Nearby parks ? Local faith organisations
  • Local community centres
  • A local recreation department 
  • A local public library

Of course, a lot has changed over the past 18 months, and we have seen some companies pivot to virtual volunteering as a consequence of the pandemic. Whether it is in-person or remote volunteering, the same principles are applicable.

Look for different ways to arrange volunteering opportunities that would have previously happened in person. Turning these into virtual opportunities is critical so that employees can continue to volunteer and feel a personal impact that is rewarding for both your team and society as a whole.

We would also recommend that you give back at what you are good at. For example, if you run a software engineering company, teaching CS and STEM at inner-city schools can really make a difference.

2. Reducing waste

Another way that corporate social responsibility can aid society is by lowering waste. There are a lot of different ways that businesses can reduce the amount of waste that they produce.

If LEGO, a manufacturer of plastic building bricks, can reduce waste, we all can. As Lego did, you can look at different ways to lower the packaging used around your product and/or make sure all packaging is recyclable. The company has invested millions of pounds into reducing waste and addressing climate change; a great example to us all.

photo-1604187351574-c75ca79f5807Businesses can also introduce measures within the office environment that prevent waste and promote recycling. One of the easy ways of doing this is by making sure that all bins have a recyclable option.

Another easy yet effective way of being more responsible when it comes to business waste is by reminding everyone that it is not always necessary to print. You can put this reminder at the bottom of all of the emails you send while maintaining an online document management system so you do not need to print as much.

If there is a cafeteria in your business building, you can lower the amount of single-use plates, knives, and forks. Even if you do not have a cafeteria at present, you may want to consider investing in tableware so that employees who purchase their lunch outside do not end up bringing single-use cutlery into the work environment.

3. Building local talent

Aside from the benefits that we have looked at so far, another way that corporate social responsibility impacts society is by helping to boost local talent.

Companies are doing this in a number of different ways, including contributing to academic studies, lending a supportive ear for those in self-isolation, virtual career mentorships, and school partnerships.

We can see a good example of this is Dropbox. Their Barretstown Live programme is designed to help children living with severe illnesses. With this programme, children can access live activity packs and a streaming service from the comfort of their own homes. This has also been extended to children who are receiving treatment and are in hospital at the moment.

photo-1607227063002-677dc5fdf96f.Another great example of how companies help to inspire future generations can be seen at MySocialCloud. Here, employees are given a small allowance every quarter, which they can use to back Kickstart Projects they believe could impact a lot of people. Every worker gets about $150 to spend per project, with some of those being backed including Head in the Clouds, LowLine, Ghost, and + Pool.

You can also look for ways to make your workforce more diverse, which is something that Starbucks is doing. They have implemented a socially responsible hiring process, which focuses on hiring more refugees and veterans, as well as helping young people to start their careers.

4. The supply of critical equipment during times of need

This is something that has been highlighted over the past 18 months more than ever due to the impact of Covid-19. We are sure a lot of you can remember the PPE shortages incurred at the start of the pandemic, and a lot of businesses helped society to overcome this.

A prime example of this is MSD, a leading healthcare company. They have been donating critical equipment, such as gloves and face masks, to local health organisations. They also supported BioPharmaChem Ireland in terms of trialling and manufacturing components for detecting the virus.

This is not all, though, as MSD also sourced thermometers for two oncology centres to make sure that patients were able to record their temperature before they arrived at the facilities, an effective way of lowering the spread of the infection.

This is just one example of many when it comes to companies that have been providing their support throughout the Covid-19 pandemic with critical equipment supplies.

5. Donations

photo-1593113616828-6f22bca04804Last but not least, another way that CSR aids society is with the donations that are being made by companies. Businesses help societies to move forward by raising money for different causes.

Of course, you can use fundraising to accumulate monetary donations, but there are other processes as well. Some businesses will give their bonuses to charity. They will set goals or metrics for their team to reach. Should a certain person or team perform the best, you can give them a bonus that is designed to be given to their favourite charity.

One company that has donated a lot of money to charity is TOMS. The company donates one- third of its net profits to numerous charities that support educational opportunities, as well as mental and physical health. In light of the pandemic, TOMS directed all charitable donations to the TOMS COVID-19 Global Giving Fund as of April 2020.

Remember, not all donations are monetary either; we see a lot of companies donate technology, such as laptops and tablets.

Furthermore, companies can look to donate food to families who need it the most, such as weekly meal packs or free lunches for children during the school holidays.

You may also want to consider sponsoring a local charity event as a way of giving back. Your team can get involved with supporting event organisation and online marketing initiatives. This is an effective way of delivering value to the charity organisation without having to put funds on the line. With this sort of help, you are enabling organisations to further generate their own money.

Final words on corporate social responsibility

So there you have it: an insight into corporate social responsibility. As you can see, this is critical for all businesses, not only can it impact you, your employees, and the environment, but it can have a huge effect on society too.

No matter which of the approaches you choose, it is critical to measure your strategies so that you can continue to make improvements and move forward when it comes to CSR.

As business owners, we all need to do our bit to give back and impact society for the better. We hope that you now have some great suggestions to help you get started.

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Published on: 3rd August 2021

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