Corporate Social Responsibility – No Longer Optional
Julian Smith | November 2019 | Editorial
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) refers to the efforts made by a company to improve society and contribute towards sustainable development and ongoing operations. Also known as corporate conscience or (good) corporate citizenship, CSR describes initiatives run by a business to evaluate and take responsibility for their impact on issues ranging from human rights and workers’ welfare to the environment. CSR can often result in short-term costs which do not lead to immediate economic gain for the company. Instead, it supports and prioritizes social and environmental progress.
Corporate social responsibility is a self-regulatory business plan, with initiatives focusing on achieving economic, social and environmental benefits for all stakeholders involved (employees, consumers, investors and, most recently, global focus on the future of humanity itself). This is business that goes beyond what is deemed compulsory by law and ethical standards.
Sustainability is usually associated with environmental sustainability. However, sustainability can also apply to many other aspects of a business including procurement, economics, and hiring and investing in the company’s most important asset, the workforce.
There is a change of mindset emerging with millennials and Generation Z that directly conflicts withmany historic corporate goals. Business needs to adapt quickly because these are the people that will soon be leading suppliers and competitors, that will hold the balance of political power, and also control the purse strings that will define business success or failure going forward. Take a look at Greta Thunberg for a glimpse into the mindset of the younger generation and future customers.