Corporate Social Responsibility: It's more than just the environment
By Susan C on Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Last night, the Vice President of Marketing and I were at a panel discussion on integrating corporate social responsibility initiatives into business practices. On the large, it was very informative and the panel was comprised of reputable business leaders.
However, most of the discussion centered around corporate social responsibility with respect to the environment alone. In my mind, there are so many more integral parts to CSR that it got me to thinking about the actual definition, what I was taught about CSR in school and profitable business integration today.
Let me preface the following with this: I have a pretty terrible grasp of grammar, so bear with me and try not to judge. :)
Here is a definition of CSR that basically embodies a lot of the definitions available in my 20 second Google search: Corporate Social Responsibility is a commitment to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of our workforce and their families as well as the local community at large.
The government of Canada also has a simlar view, see here for details.
The environment is important, taking steps to preserve the environment and adopting sustainable business practices with respect to the environment is really important to me as an individual and to Studentawards as a company...but that's not all there is.
I think we should be focusing on exactly what the above definition states (changed a little to reflect my point): commitment to contribute to economic development while improving quality of life. From a Studentawards perspective, this includes giving money to students for school (our mandate!), contributing to community programs, donating to causes where we can, helping students achieve their goals, encouraging our employees to volunteer and give back, etc; all while trying to help reduce our carbon footprint.
I would encourage any organization to take a more well rounded approach to CSR and be vocal about it because being a good corporate citizen, trying to improve quality of life for those who do business with your company is, to put things bluntly, really cool. It can also, if structured properly, be profitable (which is a whole other blog post... a lot of people I've run into lately think they can't be a good corporate citizen and have those CSR initiatives be profitable which I think is a load of bull... but again, that conversation is for another day).
Students, when you're taught CSR, I have a feeling that your lectures are focusing on the environment only because that's what my old profs taught me... but speak up and talk about all of the different aspects of CSR and the importance of being a well rounded corporate citizen. It will help spread the word on the other ways to improve the quality of life and also help get you some participation points (which I know are very important in some course).
And for my part, I'll continue to tell companies that giving money to students is helping them be a good corporate citizen and improving the quality of a student's life...sound good?
Contributor: Susan C
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Employer: Studentawards Inc.
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