26 Nov Companies and Their Corporate Social Responsibility
The last few decades or so have witnessed a 360 degree change in the way companies perceive the very purpose of doing business. In the seventies, it was all about making profits as was aptly conveyed by Nobel laureate Milton Friedman in his article “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its Profits”. Most businesses were sceptical about the concept of corporate social responsibility and dismissed the idea as just “hypocritical window dressing”. (http://business.time.com/2012/05/28/why-companies-can-no-longer-afford-to-ignore-their-social-responsibilities/)
The changing times now show corporate social responsibility in a new light, one that has prompted many companies to alter their core strategies in order to accommodate the concept. As a matter of fact, the next generation seems to be still more determined to make CSR a priority with 65% of MBAs surveyed affirming that they would like to contribute to social and environmental causes in their professional capacities as well.
Why CSR cannot be ignored
As consumers are becoming more aware of the social and environmental issues that prevail globally, there is increasing pressure on companies to project themselves as responsible corporate enterprises. Added to this is the revolution of sorts brought about by the Internet that phenomenally empowers the consumer by easy accessibility of information and the immense scope of networking that can make or mar reputations in the blink of an eye.
This is probably the reason why companies have changed their stance on CSR and have tried to link social causes to their core business. Their financial objectives now go hand in hand with social causes, in an attempt to address and redress the economic, social and environmental issues that confront us today.
How companies have successfully adopted CSR and are reaping great profits
With the aim of providing solutions to problems like unemployment and doing their bit to maintain the fragile ecological balance of the planet, companies have redefined their policies vis-a-vis staffing by trying to extend employment opportunities where there were none and by devising ways to keep carbon footprints at the minimum possible. These policies have proved to be a long term investment and most of them have already begun to reap great benefits. The Coca Cola programme which targets young women entrepreneurs and aims to add five million women to its workforce is a fine example of this. This can only prove to be a win-win situation for the profitability of the company and to the society at large. Walmart is another big business to have set lofty goals that further environmental causes. They aim to create zero waste and to only sell products that help sustain people and protect the environment. Although these objectives are tough to accomplish, in the long run, they will help the company save billions.
A fresh perspective to CSR
Adopting the work from home model could also be seen as part of corporate social responsibility as it helps create work opportunities and provides many sections of the population with a chance to earn extra income. It enhances worker satisfaction, raises their morale and as has been recently established – increases productivity too. Businesses stand to gain by experiencing lower attrition rates and reduced overheads that also significantly lessen the carbon footprint of the company.
Thus corporate social responsibility, if perceived from a different perspective, can be seen to hold several dimensions. With a little planning and foresight, more companies could introduce new policies that support trends like homeshoring, that are capable of reviving not only individual fortunes but of strengthening a nation’s economy as well.