What is Corporate Social Responsibility?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a business model that helps companies be accountable and conscious of the environmental, economic or social impacts of their operations.1,2 However, a company cannot benefit society without nurturing itself first, starting with the well-being of its employees. The unexpected truth of the matter is that developing a culture of care within companies is often missed in its conversation.
Ivan Padilla, a Business Administration Diploma instructor at ABM College, says that “CSR should be embedded into the cells of that culture.” He adds that when ethical behaviour is fostered within the company, through its employees first, that culture can influence suppliers, vendors, customers, and will manifest externally to the general public.
We are All Part of Corporate Social Responsibility
“Social responsibility itself looks for the greater good,” says Padilla. ”Individuals are not exempt from those characteristics or responsibilities.”
Whether we are conscious about it or not, everyone takes part in the mechanism that is corporate social responsibility. In a company, for example, employees work to benefit their coworkers, supervisors, clients or customers, Padilla explains.
“We are all immersed into that system of CSR, one way or the other,” he says, adding that it is up to individuals to discover how conscious they would like to be on the impacts of their actions.
“We are all contributing to society somehow, positively or negatively.”
Corporate Citizenship in the Era of Social Media
Today, companies practicing corporate social responsibility develop their business strategies to target the younger generation, who value organizations that aim to positively impact society. With Millennials and Generation Z being active in the online environment, marketing CSR through social media has become essential for many businesses.
So, how does a company use social media for its own benefit and the benefit of others? There are many CSR initiatives companies can take to enhance the quality of the world we live in, but companies cannot pursue every single route to betterment. Instead, they can start by mimicking their own values and beliefs into their CSR strategy, says Padilla.
For example, if the founders of a company believe it is important to champion mental health initiatives, they can start by taking steps to support the mental health of employees and branch out to the public domain. If environmental sustainability is important to a company, then that should be reflected not only in the company’s operations but also in the practices they implement within their office spaces.
Social media is all about influencing customers to make the right decisions and turning a company and its employees into agents of change.3 When founders, managers and employees share a strong culture around corporate social responsibility, it will be easy to share that culture with the rest of the world through written content, photos or videos because employees have a good understanding of what it means to take action.
Why is Corporate Social Responsibility Important?
Corporate social responsibility is important not only for the obvious reason that it aims to enhance the greater good, but also because it informs the relevance of our work.
“I believe that embedded within us is the willingness to help out,” says Padilla. “We all have a moral compass that is ticking all the time, helping us make decisions every single day.”
By raising awareness that CSR exists, “it doesn’t matter what the individual chooses to do.”
Whether you are opening a business or entering the labour force, you are already capable of affecting change through your actions. It can be as simple as practicing and implementing a culture of care within your company or strategizing ways to share that culture with the rest of society.
“We are all drops in the same ocean,” says Padilla. “If we create enough movement, we can generate the tide.”
ABM College continues to educate students on CSR through our courses on organizational behaviour and human resources. View full details on the Business Administration Diploma program today for additional information.