Corporate social responsibility has numerous definitions. According to an article in (Referenceforbusiness.com 2017), Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can be defined as the “economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary expectations that society has of organizations at a given point in time” (Carroll and Buchholtz 2003).Ideologically, corporate social responsibility ensures that “corporate organisations integrate the present day social and environmental concerns in their business activities and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis” (European Union 2004). This essay deals with the question; What Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is and how it influences various industries around the world. It will also highlight the various ways organisations can practice and show their commitment to corporate social responsibility to the society. Then this study will look at how corporate social responsibility affects an organisations success, which includes reviewing the impact it has on business practice. Presently, in a very diverse and competitive market; corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative is imperative as modern day organisations are obligated to show their commitment to sustainability and maintain it in all major business operations as a shared commitment to society and their business interests. Consequently, as a result of this, an organisation that is socially responsible will surpass its competitors by taking on societal issues. Different organisations show their commitment to the implementation of corporate social responsibility initiatives in different ways. While some give a portion of their profits to charitable organisations for specific societal causes; others fully are committed to a worthy initiative that affects their core business activities. Here are a few of the wider categories of social responsibility that most organisations are involved in as a means to fulfil their obligations to the society. Some organisations wholly are philanthropic to noble causes. They engage in social responsibility by donating to international, national and local charities in different ways either by financial giving or having their employees volunteering when the need arises. Due to the large pool of resources at the disposal of organisations, there is a lot that is beneficial to charity organisations and local based non-governmental organisations. A major focus of corporate social responsibility is our environment. As we all know every activity we have engaged in leaves a carbon footprint. So many organisations are involved in reducing their carbon footprint in all their business related activities which are considered both good for the organisation as a body and the environment. Another aspect by which organisations engage in corporate responsibility is in compliance with the relevant labour laws governing the rights of its employees and stakeholders. By treating employees fairly and ethically, organisations can be deemed to be engaged in corporate social responsibility. It is widely known and agreed to that any organisation that rightly implements corporate social responsibility tends to have an increase in profit and at the same time improve the corporate image of the organisation. The support and implementation of corporate social responsibilities (CSR) by any organisation have a lot of benefits not only to the organisation but also to several other environments as well. Some of the benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) implementation will be discussed in this essay. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is aimed at bringing about a positive impact on the community. Keeping social responsibility foremost encourages organisations to act ethically and to consider the social and environmental impacts of their work activities. In doing so, organisations can mitigate or eliminate detrimental impacts of their work activities and process on the community. In some cases, organisations will find ways to make changes to their services or value chain that actually delivers benefits for the community, where they once didn’t. (Cube Group 2017). Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) actively supports public value outcomes. Public value is about the value that an organisation contributes to society. A robust corporate social responsibility framework and organisational mindset can genuinely help organisations deliver public value outcomes by focussing on how their operations can make a difference in the community. This might happen indirectly, where an organisation’s services enable others to contribute to the community, or directly through the organisation’s own activities, such as carrying out community-based volunteering and philanthropy (Cube Group 2017). An organisation that is engaged in a robust Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative typically has the ability to attract and retain highly rated and desired staff. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) makes an organisation to be an employer of choice. There are “ways to approach being an employer of choice, including offering work-life balance, positive working conditions and workplace flexibility. Studies have shown that a robust corporate social responsibility framework can also help a company become more attractive to potential future employees who are looking for workplaces with socially responsible practices, community-mindedness and sound ethics” (Cube Group 2017). The implementation of a robust Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by an organisation encourages both professional and personal development. It provides employees with the opportunity to be involved in a company’s socially responsible activities (Cube Group 2017). It has the benefit of teaching new skills to staff, which can, in turn, be applied in the workplace. By undertaking activities outside of their usual work responsibilities, employees have the chance to contribute to work and causes that they might feel passionate about, or learn something entirely new which can help enrich their own perspectives. By supporting these activities, organisations encourage growth and support for employees. Organisations in support of corporate social responsibility (CSR) enhance its relationships with clients. A robust corporate social responsibility framework is essential to building and maintaining trust between the organisation and clients. It can strengthen ties, build alliances and foster strong working relationships with both existing and new clients. One way this can be achieved is by offering discounts or similar services where it can partner with other community based organisations to support their public value outcomes, where funds or resources may be limited (Cube Group 2017). In a research carried out by author Shuqin in relation to corporate social responsibility, it is agreed that an organisations clients and its corporate image have a major impact in determining company’s profit. Companies with a good public image will enjoy repeat and continued patronage of the company’s product by its client’s and therefore increase the profitability of the company (Shuqin, 2014). Also, we must make known the fact that not all organisations are really in support of CSR. It has been argued by Milton Friedman (1970) that as an economic organisation, companies should prefer profit and wealth for the sake of shareholders. Some authors are of the opinion that it is not economically viable for organisations to take on social and moral issues. Organisations should focus on earning a profit for their shareholders and leave the social issues to others. Findings by (Shiqun 2014), states that some organisations identify CSR simply with a social denotation and strongly agree with the idea that they are not charity organisations and as such should have no obligation to resolve problems in the society. Therefore, the social issues are the responsibility of governments and not organisations. Referring to a quotation by (Solomon 1993) “there is a contradiction between an endogenous ability to profit and the company’s distribution to society”. It is worth noting that CSR implementation and activities come with costs on it. The argument against the implementation and practice of CSR by organisations most times points to the cost impact. CSR by an organisation will increase operating costs, which include the costs of improving the working condition of the staff, increasing employee benefits, and replacing environmental protection equipment. All these factors will decrease the profit margins of the organisation. Corporate social responsibility implementation often requires changes to a number of processes. In many cases, organisations have to hire additional specialist personnel to manage its CSR initiatives. This is sometimes costly to manage and opponents point out that the money spent on CSR comes directly from shareholders pockets (Bizfluent 2017). In reference to organisations reputation, while many businesses undertake CSR initiatives with the intent of bolstering their public images, these initiatives can sometimes require a company to release information that has an opposite effect. In 2003, for example, Coca-Cola released a damaging report about chemicals found in its products as part of its CSR initiative. This report had an immediate short-term negative effect on the company’s revenue, according to a peer-reviewed article published in the Utrecht Law Review, with sales dropping 40 percent in the two-week period following the report (Bizfluent 2017). Corporate social responsibility projects and initiatives require a shift in thinking for many businesses, and some CSR processes can make the business more complex to operate. Wal-Mart subjects its suppliers to strict regulations on product quality and employee working conditions, for example, which add production time and increase overhead for the suppliers. Their competitors, meanwhile, can operate at lower costs and turn out products more quickly (Bizfluent 2017). The main reason why a business is created is to make a profit. Corporate social responsibility insists on a corporation to make an effort to look out for stakeholders who are not shareholders only, but who have an interest in what an organization does and the outcomes of what it does. Despite that, it’s not totally the duty of the organisation to look out for the many people who hold an interest in the work activities. In another school of thought, it is acknowledged that some organisations are just not prepared to deal with social issues. The need for organisations to confront societal issues needs the employees to be specifically trained and well knowledgeable about the issues at hand that the society and environment face, as this will give them the skills and the knowledge to be prepared to do so. In a nutshell, with the pros and cons of corporate social responsibilities, it is imperative and beneficial for organisations to engage and embrace corporate social responsibilities (CSR). Organisations that are socially responsible have better competitive advantages. Organisations involved with corporate social responsibilities are overall winners. CSR not only makes an organisation appeal to socially conscious consumers and employees, it also makes a real difference to the world. Finally, organisations that engage proactively in welfare and environmental activities produce favourable results to not only organisation but the society as well. One example of a business focusing on environmental responsibility in their CSR environmental strategy is Unilever. The UK’s largest deodorant manufacturer, in 2014 Unilever began compressing the cans of their deodorants, cutting the carbon footprint of each aerosol spray by 25% per can (The Guardian, 2017).The business achieved this by using 50% less propellant gas and 25% less aluminium. The deodorants still last the same length of time as the older designs; however are half the size, meaning that 53% more cans fit into pallets and therefore fewer Lorries are required, meaning a cut in transport emissions too. In addressing everything from the product design phase to shipping, Unilever has cut their costs in addition to their impact on the environment (The Guardian, 2017).
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