What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

by Leah Feor October 21, 2016

Corporate Social Responsiblity

Employee engagement, community clean-ups, charitable giving, tree planting, and environmentally friendly packaging are just a few of the many examples of socially responsible initiatives.

These socially responsible initiatives support and sustain the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of any business.  CSR is voluntary action or effort which a company makes to conduct operations in accordance with environmental, social, and economic sustainability.  CSR is self-governed or self-regulated, and it is embedded into the business model.  It is growing in popularity and being noticed by customers as a valuable facet of any business, no matter their size or specialty. 

Though CSR has the word corporate within it, this is not something that is limited solely to corporations.  Businesses of every size can be socially responsible, and promote their efforts as such.  In fact, businesses of all sizes will benefit greatly from making the shift to operating in a more socially responsible manner since the ripple effects of their actions are likely to drum up more business in the long run and help them retain a more committed employee and customer base.

Since CSR is voluntary, there is no rule book or concrete definition of how to conduct social responsibility through your business ventures.  So long as the actions fall within the categories of environmental, social, and economic sustainability, a company can get as creative as they would like.

Here are a few examples of CSR as they apply to each of the 3 categories:

  • Choosing clean energy for production;
  • Reduce or eliminate the amount of waste created by the production of your products;
  • Reduce distance traveled in the receipt of your raw materials;
  • Conduct operations in an environmentally friendly building;
  • Distribute products in biodegradable or recyclable packaging;
  • Plant trees for every product sold.
  • Promote a culture of collaboration with community members by supporting local causes and events;
  • Carefully choose your supply chain to ensure that your raw materials are ethically sourced;
  • Be transparent about your activities with employees, community members, and all other stakeholders affected by your operations;
  • Employee engagement through volunteer days and external activities.
  • Balance investments ensuring that your business is focusing on the long term as well as the short term;
  • Create products that are built to last: this will reduce recalls, waste, returns, and bad press;
  • Invest in the growth of your business making improvements to infrastructure, policies, and protocols as you develop;
  • Promote a company culture that treats employees like team members rather than simply employees that are paid to do a job. By nurturing your team, the business is making an investment that will pay off more and more over time.  A team that believes in the company that they work with will stay on board longer reducing turnover, and they will work passionately towards achieving the company’s mission;
  • Invest in your team members by providing training and continuous learning opportunities.

In this blog we’ve covered the “what” of CSR with just a few examples of environmental, social, and financial sustainability.  Next time we’ll look into how to promote your actions and efforts to your customers, team members, and the community at large.

Looking to team up with One Tree Planted to carry out environmental sustainability?  Click on the image below to create your very own company page as a Reforestation Partner.

Plant Trees

What does your company do to bring CSR into the business?  Comment below or connect on Social Media!

Leah Feor
Leah Feor


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