We live in a changing world. Every year, every month, sometimes even every week, the possibilities of the internet change the way we see corporations and do business. We read (and write) business blogs. We buy online. We network using large social media platforms. And if a company acts unethically or is deemed a bad employer, the world quickly knows about it. In this environment, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is becoming more important by the minute.
CSR is a self-regulatory mechanism ensuring that a business follows not just laws, but also ethical standards, international norms and social and environmental initiatives. It has been around since the 1960s, becoming more and more integrated into business models. And as those business models as well as the businesses themselves have come under more scrutiny, it has moved from just being a marketing tool used to improve a business’ image to being something companies actually promote and actively work towards.
One important aspect of CSR is creating a company culture that engages employees. You don’t need a doctorate degree in psychology to understand that motivated employees do better work. Furthermore, if employees are happy to work for your company, it is easier to gain and retain top talent. As competition for these people is becoming global, providing a work environment that employees love is more important than ever.
But CSR does not just concern internal issues. Cause-marketing is also becoming more common. This is the partnerships between a corporation and a charity, a partnership from which both sides benefit. This is not simply a business slapping their logo onto a cause, this is actual cooperation from which the charitable organisation benefits in funds raised and the corporation through a better image as well as knowledge and know-how it could not have obtained otherwise.
And there is even more to CSR. In her blog for the Harvard Business Review, Susan McPherson outlined further developments in Corporate Social Responsibility and why it’s importance can only increase in the future. You can read more here.