CSR is about focusing on the little things

It seems odd that when corporations show their commitment to society through CSR they get the most out of doing something about the little things. Companies that are successful looks at what they do well and tries to figures out how this impact communities that they are active in, in ways they could not imagine if they did not have the tools provided though CSR.

When reviewing the many definitions of CSR that is out there it gives little or no clue how actually to conduct social responsibility. It would seem that if one just followed conventional wisdom it would be hard if not impossible to satisfy even the simplest requirements given by all these different classifications.

“The Social Responsibility refers to the obligations of businessmen to pursue those policies, to make those decisions, or to follow those lines of action which are desirable in terms of the objectives and values of our society.” Bowen, 1953 in Social Responsibilities of the Businessman, which commonly regarded as the first milestone in modern CSR research and practice.

Another more modern definition have been issued by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) through their guidance on social responsibility “Responsibility of an organization for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behaviour that contributes to sustainable development, including health and the welfare of society; takes into account the expectations of stakeholders; is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behaviour; and is integrated throughout the organization and practiced in its relationships.”

Both of these very fine definitions give little or no clue to what companies should actually do to both successful in terms of profit, development and continued competitive advantage, and at the same time being in tune with societies moral compass.

But some companies have actually done quite well trying to combine their CSR with their core business. Just to give a few examples.

Danish Novo Nordisk has committed themselves to the task of “Changing diabetes” and have successfully introduced new products like Victoza inline with their core mission statement

The Swedish fashion company, H&M have under the statement “Conscious” has with worked to create sustainable fashion through a comprehensive CSR system that reduce risks in their supply chain.

Vivendi, the French telecom company, have initiated a program that promotes the safe use of the Internet to youth.

All of these initiatives are small when it comes to the efforts that the company needs to put into them because it is embedded in the “what we do” part of their business, but even so that have a huge impact on their outreach to the communities they are active in.

So even though it would seem that these successful companies are focusing on the “little things” they do represent a significant societal impact exactly for that reason.

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One thought on “CSR is about focusing on the little things

  1. Student social responsibility is the responsibility of every student for his/her actions. It is morally binding on everyone to act in such a way that the people immediately around them are not adversely affected. It is a commitment everyone has towards the society – contributing towards social, cultural and ecological causes. SSR is based on an individual’s ethics. Instead of giving importance only to those areas where one has material interests the individual supports issues for philanthropic reasons. It forms the base for CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility because if everyone in a business organization does his/her bit the bigger things automatically fall into place. The trends however show that big charitable organizations recorded high growth due to the SR efforts of individuals and not corporates or the government. ISR may be slightly impractical, especially in the modern competitive world, where everyone works for self-interest, but it will succeed if we take decisions based on what will benefit a large number of people and respect everyone’s fundamental rights. As individuals we can make our small contributions to society by donating money to trustworthy NGO’s, saving our resources by reducing our consumption, E.g. by switching off lights or computers when not in use.

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