What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) refers to the actions taken by a corporation that benefits the society they operate in. It is considered a way of “giving it back” to society. There are numerous ways through which corporations can engage in this activity, including donating, creating awareness, or implementing eco-friendly practices.
Corporations have started linking up with non-profits organizations, charitable organizations, and non-governmental organizations to help society. CSR activities include donating money, resources or performing acts that add value and benefit the community.
In recent times CSR is also considered as a tool for marketing, allowing a brand to stand out based on their ethical practices, which improves their perception in the minds of consumers, giving them an added benefit. People now prefer to associate themselves with goodwill gestures, and CSR allows corporations to form connections through this idea with their consumers.
Types OF CSR Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility has been categorized into four types:
1. ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITY
Ethical responsibility refers to corporations implementing practices that are considered fair. This means that the activities that business engages in with their employees, customers, suppliers, and stakeholders are law-abiding and transparent.
These practices include providing a suitable platform for employees where there are no ill practices such as discrimination or illegal deals. Failure to comply with this can also lead to lawsuits against the company.
One example of ethical responsibility was carried out by Saga Sports in 2002. When the child labor movement announced that more than 70% of footballs made in Sialkot were the result of child labor due to manufacturers’ out-sourcing, the company’s CEO decided to end this practice and started in-house production. This process increased the cost of goods produced but ensured that the company participated in ethical practices.
2. PHILANTHROPIST RESPONSIBILITY
Philanthropist responsibility means company activities to improve society voluntarily. This usually means helping the underprivileged through donations. These donations can be made through the company’s money, resources, or social standing.
Companies help the underdeveloped areas of their society where they operate with the only goal of improving their living standards for them.
Engro Foundation has been a leading philanthropist company. The corporation during the times of Covid signed a pledge with Dawood Foundation. The Hussain Dawood pledge promised to improve the living conditions of the underprivileged, help in controlling disease prevention, and also provide help and support to healthcare workers and patients. The pledge promised their resources as well as one billion RS in cash to help with their goals.
3. ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
With the climate situation worsening, now is the time for everyone to take steps to ensure that the health of the earth improves. And the onus of this responsibility falls largely on big corporations due to the magnitude at which they can help, influence, and create awareness for this purpose.
With the recent increase in awareness of the environment among the customers, it is of utmost importance for corporations to implement eco-friendly practices that will make them look responsible and amenable.
Generations, a leading fashion brand, launched a campaign through their autumn wear collection where they decided to take on their environmental responsibilities. The launched clothing line was made out of organic cotton and recycled plastic. The advertisement campaign also focused on environmental issues such as deforestation, water scarcity, and air pollution.
4. ECONOMICAL RESPONSIBILITY
Economical responsibility refers to the company working in ways that improve the economic situation of the society they operate in. This responsibility links ethical, environmental, and philanthropist responsibility in a way that it balances out all the responsibilities. It includes making decisions and implementing policies that help both the corporation and the society as well.
Nestle Pakistan is one of the biggest brands and a leader in the market. This huge success has made them more responsible for acting in ways that help society. Nestle launched the philosophy of creating shared value (CVS) through which company could provide value to their stakeholders as well as their users.
Corporate social responsibility has evolved over time. From being a way to help society nowadays, CSR is a bare minimum expectation from the customers. Corporations have learned that CSR is one of the strongest tools for them to improve their relationship as well as add value to society.
There are many ways for companies to implement CSR, including sharing resources, using sustainable methods, and providing monetary donations. Some companies even go further and run full campaigns that focus on only adding value to society.
These campaigns increase the company’s likability and also make them appear good in the eyes of the users, which translates to an increase in brand value for them. Due to this reason, CSR has become an important marketing tool for companies that showcase their philanthropic activities with full glamour. This also allows certain causes to gain traction and create awareness for it which helps the cause as well.
In this age of technology and welfare, it is important for brands to maintain their image as someone who adds value to society and provides help whenever possible. Humans like to involve themselves in selfless acts, which is why they connect with these activities at an emotional level. This connection allows brands to develop a relationship with customers and help them gain sustainability in society.