Corporate Social Responsibility, often known as CSR, is becoming more and more popular in the business world. For those that are unaware, CSR is about sustaining the ecosystem, being “green”, or just contributing to the benefit of society. However, it does not necessarily mean just an additional cost or a charitable deed. It can be a source of opportunity, innovation and importantly – a competitive advantage.
We live in a world that is connected with global communication. All information is available within a few clicks of a button. With this fact at hand it is obvious that news and information disseminates quickly and we become aware of world problems and facts faster than ever. Everyone is aware of pollution, poverty and world hunger.
Corporations are not responsible for all the world’s problems, nor do they have the resources to solve them all, but what corporations can do is help with dealing with some societal issues, or at least reduce them.
First, you must select the issue that is particular to your line of business. Other social agendas are best left to those companies in other industries. The most important aspect when thinking about CSR is not whether a cause is worthy, but whether it presents an opportunity to create shared value. This means that it is not only a benefit for society but for your business as well. The logical reasoning behind this is that if it helps your business, then you can help society even more. For example, carbon emission is a generic issue for a retailer, but for a car manufacturer it’s a competitive context. The car manufacturer may decide to work on that issue, helping society as a whole and at the same time showing the world how “green” they are.
After you have selected an issue for your business to tackle, you must decide to which extent you are going to help the environment. Will you help by simply mitigating existing adverse effects from business activities or will you go further? If you are able to go further and take a proactive stance, this could become potential competitive advantage, by adding a social dimension to your current value proposition.
Once you have decided on an issue to tackle, research the topic and see if you can invest into implementing it into your business process.
Why not try to help yourself while at the same time helping society preserve the world as a whole? These tasks are not only for non-profit organisations, we should be trying our best to make a difference in the world for the better.