CSR for the Skeptical
This blog is for business managers or students, who see Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), also known as Corporate Citizenship as the amount of capital companies donate every year to get a good PR. CSR is much much more and believe it or not it will become part of your company strategy for the years to come.
During the last seven weeks I have turned from CSR skeptic to a CSR activist and here is why:
Good CSR translates directly to your company bottom-line through better brand perception and increased positive reputation. As my Prof., Kellie McElhaney, always says “you can’t NOT communicate, you are always branding yourself” so why don’t do it the right way?! Wal-Mart wanted to reduce the company’s truck fleet carbon dioxide emissions and by that saved $26 Million annually. Yes, we can argue what is the real motivation behind this initiative, but eventually it was a win-win situation for the company and the planet! (see, “Will Big Business Save the Earth?” by Jared Diamond, The New York Times, December 6, 2009). This initiative equals to removing 18,300 cars off the road. Just think about other small initiative that can help our planet.
One is fully expected to think responsibility by both your customers and employees. In the US, customers expect companies to be more involved in the community besides periodic financial contributions. Customers are also willing to express it with their consuming behavior and demand full disclosure through annual sustainability reports, (see “Rethinking Corporate Social Responsibility, A Fleishman-Hillard/National Consumers League Study”). On the other hand, Employees, expect to be part of the company’s CSR initiative which, eventually, affects their morale and retention. This Again, is reflected both in the bottom-line and translated to competitive advantage. Just ask CEOs of companies like SAP, Cisco and Home Depot why they insist on having these volunteer opportunities in their companies.
Finally, In order to implement good CSR, companies need to switch from one bottom-line goal (profit) to triple bottom-line Goals: People, Planet, Profits. This allows the companies to integrate CSR in the company’s day-by-day operation and benefit both in the long and short run.
CSR is here to stay and the sooner managers adopt and embrace it the better.