Corporate social responsibility (CSR): How to incorporate it into your company

Published on 19/04/2024

Corporate social responsibility (CSR): How to incorporate it into your company

Published on 19/04/2024
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Corporate social responsibility (CSR): How to incorporate it into your company

Do you know everything that encompasses the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)? A company applies this concept when it plays a positive role in the community and takes into account the environmental and social impact of business decisions. We will explain in more detail everything that should be considered to incorporate Corporate Social Responsibility into your business strategy.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

Corporate Social Responsibility is a business management concept motivated by addressing social and environmental concerns within its internal and commercial activities, as well as in interactions with its stakeholders and customers.

Generally, it is understood that Corporate Social Responsibility is the way a company achieves a balance between economic, environmental, and social imperatives, while simultaneously attending to the expectations of shareholders and stakeholders.

In this sense, it is important to distinguish between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which can be a strategic business management concept, and charity, sponsorship, or philanthropy. Although the latter can also make a valuable contribution to poverty reduction and directly improve a company’s reputation, the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility goes much further.

Promoting the adoption of Corporate Social Responsibility among companies requires different approaches that fit the needs and capabilities of the companies and do not negatively affect their economic viability. For this, it is necessary to have strategies and measurement tools that allow monitoring and reporting on the results of companies in relation to performance, economic results, and social and environmental conditions of great impact.

Corporate Social Responsibility seeks to align companies with the Sustainable Development Goals; for this, the company must be financially stable to minimize, or ideally eliminate, negative environmental or social impacts and act in accordance with societal expectations. There are a series of aspects to consider for adopting effective corporate social responsibility:

  • Environmental management
  • Eco-efficiency
  • Responsible sourcing
  • Commitment
  • Corporate well-being
  • Labor standards and working conditions
  • Relationships with employees and the community
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Social equity and gender balance
  • Guarantee of human rights

Correctly applying Corporate Social Responsibility in a business strategy fosters competitive advantages; such as greater access to capital and sector markets, an increase in sales and profits, savings in operating costs, improved productivity and quality, an efficient human resources base, enhanced brand image and reputation, greater customer loyalty, better decision-making, and risk management processes.

Corporate social responsibility actions, Examples

Business management strategies for adopting Corporate Social Responsibility can range from a cultural change to various operational changes and even a transformation of the entire business model.

Operational Initiatives

Corporate Social Responsibility operational initiatives are usually aimed at improving the efficiency or performance of the company in such a way that they also have a positive social or environmental impact on the community at large. The initiatives can be classified into several categories; here are some examples:

Environmental

– Reduce the carbon footprint.

– Improve energy efficiency.

– Reduce waste, water use, and emissions.

Social

– Deal with diverse, local, and socially responsible suppliers and partners.

– Consult community stakeholders on business decisions and support community initiatives.

Work Environment

– Improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

– Enhance health and safety at work.

– Develop an ethical code for your company and eliminate harassment and discrimination.

Strategic Transformation

Some Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives may involve a complete transformation of a company’s strategy or business model of a company to integrate social or environmental objectives as a key priority.

Many companies incorporate social and environmental goals at the core of their mission and business strategy. These companies remain businesses seeking profit, but also formally commit to focusing on optimizing social and environmental impact at a global and corporate level.

How to adopt corporate social responsibility (CSR) in my business?

Before incorporating some Corporate Social Responsibility actions, it is important to have financial stability, as well as a corporate culture and a solid and well-structured business strategy. To this end, we give you four steps that can help you integrate CSR into your company.

Evaluate your current efforts

It is possible that your company is carrying out Corporate Social Responsibility actions informally. So start by identifying and evaluating the performance of these actions as well as the impact on your products or services.

Define Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals

Once the Corporate Social Responsibility actions implemented in your company unconsciously have been identified, start structuring the objectives clearly and being aware of the change these actions can have within the Sustainable Development Goals as well as in the performance of your business and teams. Include them in your mission, values, and business strategy.

Decide the priorities

Now organize the linked actions and activities by priorities. Choose a manageable number of priority initiatives. It is important to obtain the opinion of employees, partners, and stakeholders on the initiatives that should be carried out.

Develop an action and monitoring plan

Lastly, develop an action plan to carry out the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. This should include: a schedule, a list of those responsible for the tasks, and the resources dedicated to the projects.

Make sure to follow up with regular meetings to monitor the implementation of the action plan, recognize successes, identify shortcomings or areas for improvement, and make the necessary adjustments.

It is important to establish metrics to measure the efforts of the initiatives, as well as to rely on performance and productivity measurement systems to identify team performance and the achievement of objectives linked to these Corporate Social Responsibility actions.

Some examples of possible Corporate Social Responsibility metrics for different types of initiatives:

  • Amount of donations
  • Greenhouse gas equivalency ratio
  • Volume of emissions
  • Use of energy and water
  • Diversity of employees and suppliers
  • Inclusion activities and assistance to them

After a year, reevaluate the efforts in these initiatives and create a new action plan. You can increase accountability and transparency by publishing periodic reports on your efforts in Corporate Social Responsibility or for specific areas, such as environmental disclosure and reports on diversity and inclusion within the workplace.

Now that you know all the information related to this important concept, start defining your objectives, plan your efforts in advance, and choose projects that are in line with the values of your company, as well as teams interested and motivated by the proposed initiatives in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) , to achieve a positive and satisfactory impact, both globally and socially as well as within the behavior of your business.

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