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The Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility Matters in Business

“Corporate social responsibility is measured in terms of businesses improving conditions for their employees, shareholders, communities, and environment. But moral responsibility goes further, reflecting the need for corporations to address fundamental ethical issues such as inclusion, dignity, and equality.” Klaus Schwab

In business, companies can sometimes lose sight of the social responsibilities that keep us all in check. The importance of these social constructs can not be overstated, as they offer a framework for which we can all abide without negatively impacting the people around us. With the #Metoo movement and other social causes coming to the forefront businesses are increasingly encouraged, and sometimes forced, to take a long hard look at how they are operating and in what ways it aligns with these social constructs. 

Here are some points on the importance of social responsibilities in business and how you can use them to relate to your audience.

Social responsibility means acting in the best interests of a company’s environment and society. Social responsibility is known as corporate social responsibility (CSR) as it applies to business and is becoming a more prominent area of focus within businesses due to shifting social norms.

Companies that take part in social responsibility programs often see an added benefit of boosting their brand image. Embracing socially responsible policies goes a long way toward attracting and retaining customers, which is essential to a company’s long-term success. Furthermore, many individuals who know that part of a company’s profits will be channeled toward social causes near and dear to them will gladly pay a premium for goods.

 Companies that implement social responsibility programs have the additional benefit of boosting their brand image.  Social responsibility programs can also have a positive impact on morale among employees. The increase in morale should lead to a boost in productivity.

Social responsibility helps benefit society and the environment while lessening negative impacts we impart on them. Companies involved with social responsibility can do so in several ways including following ethical labour practices, making changes that benefit the environment, and promoting volunteering, and philanthropy. Benefiting society, and lessening the negative impacts on the environment are among the main benefits of social responsibility. Consumers are increasingly looking to buy goods and services from socially responsible companies, which can have a positive impact on their bottom line.

A business’s ability to maintain a balance between chasing economic stability and paying attention to societal and environmental issues is a critical factor in social responsibility. The main way for a business to achieve social responsibility is to strike a balance between being attentive to societal and environmental changes while maintaining a watchful eye on their finances. For example, companies may look to reduce their carbon footprint and limit waste in an effort to negate their environmental impact. 

The Lego Group, manufacturer of Lego toys, has committed to reducing its carbon impact. It was named a World Wildlife Fund Climate Savers Partner in 2014. There’s also the social responsibility of ethical practices for employees, which can mean offering a fair wage. This arises when there are limited employee protection laws. Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Holdings Inc. has integrated social responsibility into the core of its operations. The company purchases Fair Trade Certified ingredients.

Social responsibility can be an effective tool to increase employee engagement. As opposed to simply collecting a paycheck, socially conscious companies tend to attract employees who are eager to make a difference in the world. There is strength in numbers and collective employee efforts can achieve substantial results, which increases workplace morale and boosts productivity. Many companies, such as those with “green” policies, have made social responsibility an integral part of their business models, and they have done so without compromising profitability.

There is a moral imperative as well. Actions—or the lack thereof—will affect future generations. Put simply, social responsibility is just good business practice, and a failure to do so can have a deleterious effect on the balance sheet.

There are numerous ways for your company to be seen as socially responsible, and as an entrepreneur it’s your job to ensure that your company leads the way. Whether that be through employee engagement, environmental initiatives, or through “green” policies, it’s your job to ensure your company is on the cutting edge of social and environmental changes that our society is prone to. 

Doing so will allow you to connect to your customer base more fully, as well as provide you with a strong backing of environmental agencies that help protect our earth. Take the initiative and ensure your company follows through on its words. Remember, in general, social responsibility is more effective when a company takes it on voluntarily, instead of waiting for the government to require them to do so through regulation.

Joshua Cooper | Contributing Writer

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