Companies aspire to do well financially – but they are also responsible to engage in good causes, which is the underlying principle of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Today, more organisations recognise the importance of aligning business objectives with CSR initiatives. When considering CSR, companies might need to note that Earth Day has always been of great importance to individuals, especially young people. More and more people celebrate Earth Day in order to raise awareness of the climate change and global warming we are facing today. The day aims to drive change and help restore earth problems environmentally and economically, such as growing investment in sustainable and ethical companies where three central factors (environmental, social, and governance) are measured.
One of our greatest challenges this century will be to ensure sustainable, just, and balanced development. In terms of environment and governance, the needs of current and future generations might not be met unless there is respect for natural systems and standards to protect social and environmental values. As part of societies, it should be the business’ interest to contribute to addressing common problems. Strategically speaking, business leaders need to focus on their social responsibility and business operation, especially to help communities and ecosystems flourish.
In a conversation with Quek Shiyun, the Head of Company of Good, she mentioned that businesses today should aim to marry profit and purpose to achieve better, greater results. By doing good, organisations can both address community needs and meet wider organisational goals which, in turn, will increase the likelihood of shareholder buy-in and longer-term commitment to corporate programs.
Shiyun further explained that to start a good move, organisations must first identify social issues around which their workforce are passionate to solve. Then, they should think about the outcomes from both organisational and social perspective that they hope to achieve from CSR initiatives. The last step is to reflect and identify which of their core competencies or assets are best leveraged to drive the CSR efforts. Maintaining and sustaining the efforts to yield results that are satisfactory to both organisation and society.
“We are committed to creating economic value, but we are indifferent to how we do it. Progressive businesses are gaining a competitive advantage to societal signals. We prosper by helping society to prosper.” – Idar Kreutzer, CEO Storebrand, 2005
Corporate Social Responsibility approaches need to be constructed by adapting best practices, existing initiatives, and analyses to local contexts and situations. Below are some successful CSR programmes proposed by The Protection Project that can be a good example for your organisational team and business prosperity:
Since 2012, Google has worked for nonprofit causes with the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project to build a database, called Investigative Dashboard, that allows journalists, researchers, and members of civil society to search public records. The main concept is by mapping connections between companies and exposing them, the users of the database can help disrupt transnational organised crime and corruption. The idea of the Investigative Dashboard was developed when experts, technologists, and survivors of human trafficking came together to discuss the problem in 2012.
The Body Shop company has been launching its Community Fair Trade programme to identify suppliers of key accessories and ingredients among small producer groups in developing countries. The programme is expected to promote economic development in those regions. The company’s preferred suppliers are small-scale farmers, traditional artisans, and rural cooperatives, with whom The Body Shop maintains a relationship based on fair trade principles.
Dell partners with organisations around the world as part of its Youth Learning Initiative programme and works directly with nonprofit organisations to aid children who are not in school and lack the necessary conditions and resources for good-quality education. The initiative offers grants and the company’s latest technological products. Dell’s volunteers also provide continued support and maintenance to each local project.
Barilla introduced the Double Pyramid model to serve as a reference model for its production chain and to educate people on improving their eating habits. The slogan “Good for You, Good for Planet” has become widely adopted across Barilla companies. The Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition has been disseminating the model through webinars, workshops, forums in areas of work such as health, sustainability, growth, and more.
Tokio Marine has taken further steps to save the planet by initiating the Mangrove Planting Project in Southeast Asia since 1999. The mangroves are planted with the help of Tokio Marine Holdings employees, communities, and nonprofit organisations. Mangroves are vital especially in coastal areas to serve as ‘green coastal break waves ‘ that mitigate damage caused by storms. Mangroves are also beneficial as they enable self-sufficiency in food among local residents, allow residents to gather timber and biomass fuel, provide corrosion control along coastlines, and absorb greenhouse gases.
With more individuals now aware of the risks posed by climate change, organisations should volunteer differently in order to sustain their business, people, and society. Strategist leader Timothy McClimon mentioned that there are at least five CSR trends to watch for in 2021, which include:
In conclusion, CSR leaders should not only take on the needs of their organisational projects but also those of the environment and society. Although confronting today’s global change might be a bit more challenging than it used to, leaders should bring impact and help organisations and the world to be better.