Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) / Citizenship projects are now major growth areas for the company, having run races for Sodexo, a French multi-national operating extensively in the UK, Alexander Mann Solutions, Marriott Hotels, Nationwide Bank and Cannock Council.
Corporate social responsibility is also known as corporate conscience, corporate citizenship or responsible business. In essence it has four main strands.
1. Ethical issues
CSR is a great platform for ethical corporate self-regulation being integrated into a business model. Good examples include
2. Environmental Reasons
High on the list for business CSR practices are ones for environmental reasons such as IKEA’s use of wood only obtained from sustainable forests. This is direct contrast to the anarchic deforestation of the Amazon basin for hardwoods, a global scandal in need of urgent action.
Similarly, many industrial companies are interested in reducing their carbon footprint i.e. the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of their business activities.
Transport and logistics companies are well aware of this issue; for instance the transport of construction materials accounted for approximately 30% of total emissions from the construction industry in England in 20101. Applying efficient logistics principles, such as back loading [not running lorries empty] helps reduce costs and un-necessary emissions.
The third strand to CSR is philanthropy or organisational giving. The monies raised internally can be for a local / national charity or an internal foundation that does good things in their local community. And that money from the company, staff and clients / customers can be raised in a myriad of ways – from informal cupcake sales to organised virtual balloon races to designated charity branded products creating agreed margin contributions.
Volunteering is the final strand to CSR business practice. It’s where a company’s staff donate their time to further a cause, express concern or highlight a serious issue in society. Typical examples include:
Overall, CSR strategies encourage a company to make a positive impact on the environment and stakeholders including consumers, employees, investors, communities, and others.
Proponents argue that corporations increase long-term profits by operating with a CSR perspective, as long as that perspective gels with its clients or consumers. Conversely, critics argue that CSR distracts from businesses' economic role i.e. to make profits for all stakeholders [staff and shareholders].