Understanding Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a real buzz word when it comes to business policies. But what exactly is CSR, and how will adopting it into your business benefit your company?

What is corporate social responsibility?

Corporate Social Responsibility is an ethical management concept where companies aim to integrate social, economic and environmental concerns along with the consideration of human rights into their business operations.

Is CSR similar to company charity work?

Do not confuse CSR with charity work or sponsorships as there is a clear distinction between the two. Whilst the latter makes a valuable contribution and is an excellent way to enhance the reputation of the company and brand, CSR goes way beyond that. For example, a CSR policy might include funding scholarships, encouraging staff to volunteer in the community by working closely with a specific charity, or giving funds to community organisations. It may also be used to promote diversity in the workforce or aim to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and increase sustainability. It can also focus on socially responsible investment. CSR can be carried out on a national or international basis.

Benefits of CSR

Besides the obvious benefits to society, a properly implemented CSR concept can also go a long way to enhancing a company’s public image. It also has a positive effect on employees, either as a result of being able to attract better talent, or the CSR programs helping to develop better employees.

Here we look at a breakdown of the benefits to a company of having in place a strong CSR:

  • Enhanced public image and reputation: Any company who is considered socially responsible will benefit from its enhanced reputation with the public as well as its reputation within the industry.
  • Customer loyalty and increased sales: In order to succeed, businesses must satisfy their customers’ key buying criteria, which includes; price, quality, availability and convenience. However, studies show an increasing and growing desire to buy based on more ethical values. A survey carried out by the Better Business Journey shows that 88% of consumers said they were more likely to buy from a company that supports and engages in activities to improve society.
  • Increased ability to attract and retain employees: A company with a strong CSR commitment will often find it easier not just to recruit employees, but attract a higher standard of talent. A CSR commitment often results in a reduction in turnover and associated recruitment and training costs.

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