Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large.
Social responsibility is important to a business because it demonstrates to both consumers and the media that the company takes an interest in wider social issues that have no direct impact on profit margins. These issues may be local, national or global, but a concern for the health and wellness of others that does not involve sales can be seen as commendable if done well.
When the importance of social responsibility is recognized as part of a business’s foundation, the impact of such endeavors can have life-changing consequences for recipients of aid and, equally, instill a sense of pride in the people who support and work toward its growth. A business can grow with or without social responsibility, but doing good for others allows a business to reap rewards in many ways.
At its heart, Corporate Social Responsibility is about an organisation taking responsibility for the impacts of its decisions and activities on all aspects of society, the community and the environment. Corporate Social Responsibility is more than just donating money or printing double-sided to save trees, it’s about contributing to the health and welfare of society, operating transparently and ethically. More importantly, this way of operating should be embedded in the business, rather than an afterthought.
Keeping social responsibility front of mind encourages businesses to act ethically and to consider the social and environmental impacts of their business. In doing so, organisations can avoid or mitigate detrimental impacts of their business on the community. In some cases, organisations will find ways to make changes in their services or value chain that actually delivers benefits for the community, where they once didn’t.
Put simply, public value is about the value that an organization contributes to society. A sound, robust corporate social responsibility framework and organizational mindset can genuinely help organizations deliver public value outcomes by focusing on how their services can make a difference in the community. This might happen indirectly, where an organization’s services enable others to contribute to the community, or directly through the organization’s own activities, such as volunteerism and philanthropy.
Providing employees with the opportunity to be involved in a company’s socially responsible activities can have the benefit of teaching new skills to staff, which can in turn be applied in the workplace. By undertaking activities outside of their usual work responsibilities, employees have the chance to contribute to work and causes that they might feel passionate about, or learn something entirely new which can help enrich their own perspectives. By supporting these activities, organizations encourage growth and support for employees.
A strong corporate social responsibility framework is essential to building and maintaining trust between the company and clients. It can strengthen ties, build alliances and foster strong working relationships with both existing and new clients. One way this can be achieved is by offering pro-bono or similar services where a company can partner with not-for-profit organizations to support their public value outcomes, where funds or resources may be limited. In turn, this helps deliver public value outcomes that may not have been delivered otherwise.