What is Corporate Social Responsibility? (2024 Update)

What is Corporate Social Responsibility? (2024 Update)

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept which promotes the idea that corporations should ‘give back’ and serve the greater good. It encourages the idea of substantive development and covers various issues, including human rights, social justice, and the environment. The value a company places on Corporate Social Responsibility varies depending on the culture and framework of each company.

When one imagines CSR, it is easy to imagine giant enterprises or multinational corporations making hefty donations or conducting large-scale campaigns. However, Corporate Social Responsibility can be as simple as implementing ideas which allow a business to engage with the community. Corporate Social Responsibility is now a public expectation for every company and business, regardless of their size and what industry sector they operate in. This is why every business owner should be aware of it, understand its meaning, and be willing to implement it.

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How does Corporate Social Responsibility Affect my Business?

Your Customers

The rise of Corporate Social Responsibility is a trend that has become common practice. While it is a social concept, it can affect your business indirectly by influencing customer behaviour and their buying patterns.

Your Company

Corporate Social Responsibility can influence your business directly by giving it a positive reputation and boosting morale amongst your employees. Studies have also shown that employees are more productive in instances where they feel a sense of purpose and like they are doing good. In this sense, if your company engages in it, you will likely see an increase in productivity and employee satisfaction.

Although CSR is not on its own a legal requirement, some of it has already been incorporated in the law. For example, there are laws regulating workplace conditions such as health and safety measures, (OH&S), minimum wage, and child labour.

How can my Business Benefit from it?

Being Ahead of the Curve

Today’s Corporate Social Responsibility trends may well be tomorrow’s laws, so why not be ahead of your time and adopt them now? For example, many years ago, promoting cultural diversity and gender equality in workplaces was uncommon. Nowadays, the law prohibits workplace discrimination, bullying and harassment. Another example is the short-lived carbon tax. Despite its repeal, it’s likely that corporations in the future will have legal responsibilities when it comes to emissions. Why not be a leader in your industry and implement these practices early?

It will Improve your image

Businesses with CSR will usually have a better brand recognition and positive business reputation. It goes without saying that if you have strong brand recognition and a positive reputation, this will be reflected in customer loyalty and sales. Further, it is also an opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses to obtain more exposure, and attract more customers.

Economic Benefits

Taking up Corporate Social Responsibility does not necessarily increase your business’s expenditure, in fact it may be a cost-saving practice. A recent example of the economic and social benefits of CSR can be seen in the KFC straw-free campaign which not only provided significant media exposure for the company in promoting the brand as being environmentally-friendly, but also cut the cost of making the straws. As this shows, it can be win-win for the company and society at large.

How can my Business be Socially Responsible?

Although there is no uniform standard for CSR, there are resources which can provide you with ideas for ways to implement it, such as the Human Rights Commission website. 

There are also business consultants in Australia that provide evaluations and advice on CSR Strategies. In relation to the Corporate Social Responsibility concepts which have been legislated, you may want to contact a small business lawyer for advice.

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