Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) - An Understanding With Examples


What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a self-regulating business model that helps a company be socially accountable—to itself, its stakeholders, and the public. By practicing corporate social responsibility, also called corporate citizenship, companies can be conscious of the kind of impact they are having on all aspects of society, including economic, social, and environmental.
To engage in CSR means that, in the ordinary course of business, a company is operating in ways that enhance society and the environment, instead of contributing negatively to them.

Understanding Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Corporate social responsibility is a broad concept that can take many forms depending on the company and industry. Through CSR programs, philanthropy, and volunteer efforts, businesses can benefit society while boosting their brands.
As important as CSR is for the community, it is equally valuable for a company. CSR activities can help forge a stronger bond between employees and corporations; boost morale; and help both employees and employers feel more connected with the world around them.
For a company to be socially responsible, it first needs to be accountable to itself and its shareholders. Often, companies that adopt CSR programs have grown their business to the point where they can give back to society. Thus, CSR is primarily a strategy of large corporations. Also, the more visible and successful a corporation is, the more responsibility it has to set standards of ethical behavior for its peers, competition, and industry.

Example of Corporate Social Responsibility

Long before its initial public offering (IPO) in 1992, Starbucks was known for its keen sense of corporate social responsibility, and commitment to sustainability and community welfare. According to the company, Starbucks has achieved many of its CSR milestones since it opened its doors. As per its 2018 "Global Social Impact Report," these milestones include "reaching 99% of ethically sourced coffee, creating a global network of farmers, pioneering green building throughout its stores, contributing millions of hours of community service, and creating a groundbreaking college program for its partner/employees."
Starbucks’ goals for 2020 and beyond include hiring 10,000 refugees across 75 countries, reducing the environmental impact of its cups, and engaging its employees in environmental leadership. Today there are many socially responsible companies whose brands are known for their CSR programs, such as Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Everlane, a clothing retailer.

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