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Corporate social responsibility

By Taslim Ahammad:

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a business approach that contributes to sustainable development by delivering economic, social and environmental benefits for all stakeholders. CSR research has blossomed in this new millennium due to the increasing concern expressed by policy makers about corporate social responsibility. The pressure applied on businesses to demonstrate high ethical standards; and for developing countries, the increasing demands on their firms exporting to Europe and other western countries to document devotion to high ethical standards in order to be competitive. This effort aimed to encourage companies to be more aware of the impact for their business, on the society, including their own stakeholders and the environment.

CSR is a management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders. It is a self-regulating business model that helps a company to be socially accountable for itself, its stakeholders, and the public. Through practicing corporate social responsibility, also called corporate citizenship, companies may be conscious of the kind of impact they are having on all aspects of society including economic, social, and environmental. For engage in CSR means that, in the normal course of business, a company is operating in ways that enhance society and the environment. Through CSR programs, philanthropy, and volunteer efforts, businesses may benefit society while boosting their own brands. Corporate social responsibility is for the community, it is equally valuable for a company. CSR activities can help forge a stronger bond between employee and corporation; they may increase morale and may help both employees and employers feel more connected with the world around them. Intends for a company to be socially responsible, it first needs to be responsible to itself and its shareholders.

Human rights in CSR: Human rights are relevant to the economic, social and environmental aspects of corporate activity, such as, labour rights requiring companies to pay fair wages affect the economic aspect. Human rights is the right to non-discrimination are relevant to the social aspect. Also the environmental aspects of corporate activity might affect a range of human rights, e.g., the right to clean drinking water. Organisations have come to recognise that part of being a good corporate citizen includes respecting the human rights of those who come into contact with the corporation in some way. It would be the direct contact (such as, employees or customers), or indirect contact (such as, workers of suppliers, or people living in areas affected by a corporation’s activities). Benefits of CSR in businesses and environment: A lot of activities and business that fall under the umbrella of CSR, with their corresponding benefits, include: (1) Prevent financial consequences – Compliance with the essence and message of the law both nationally and internationally through self-regulatory processes to prevent fines, put organisation low on regulators’ detector screens, and lower legal expenses. (2) Escalate employee loyalty – Considering employees fairly and generously as a part of corporate social responsibility. Through providing good jobs and encouraging high professional and moral standards, increase employee loyalty, and through getting only those outside products produced at factories where workers were treated ethically, gain support among fair trade supporters. (3) Uphold a positive reputation – Establish awareness in a variety of areas may harvest publicity and give a business tangible proof of their conduct, which may be proudly displayed on a business website. These comprise; (3.1) Environmental awareness – Decreasing waste, recycling, minimizing carbon footprint, and other best practices container. Manufacturing or using only sustainable products, lowering energy usage, and supporting environmental causes that increase a business green reputation among environmentally concerned customers. (3.2) Social apprehension – Contributing to humanitarian causes that fight determined poverty, help and support the victims of epidemics like AIDS or Ebola, or assist those displaced by hurricanes or earthquakes shows concern for issues that consumers are more and more aware of in our modern, connected society or the globe. (3.3) Local community – Connection in local community developments, either through financial donations, employee participation, connecting the customers with project leaders, or promotion of the project by advertising and fundraising enhances business CSR credentials with users in the specified position. Ways to practice CSR: Identifying how significant social responsibility is to their customers, many corporations now focus on and practice a few broad classes of CSR- (1) Environmental efforts – One major focus of corporate social responsibility is the environment. Companies regardless of size have a large carbon footmark. Somewhat steps they can take to cut those footprints are considered both good for the business and society. (ii) Philanthropy – Companies may also run through social responsibility by donating money, products or services to social reasons. Bigger corporations tend to have a lot of resources that may benefit charities and local community works. (iii) Ethical labour practices – Through considering employees fairly and ethically, enterprises may also determine their corporate social responsibility. It is particularly true of enterprises that operate in international locations with labour laws. (iv) Volunteering – Joining volunteer events says a lot about a corporation’s sincerity. As a result of doing good deeds without expecting anything in return, companies may express their concern for specific issues and support for positive business. Build socially responsible business: Activity socially accountable initiatives is truly a win-win situation. Not only will the company appeal to socially conscious consumers and employees, however, business will also make a real difference in the world. Start fit in business ethos into organisation culture. Even if the organisation do not have a huge cause to focus on as an organization, one may always start with what is important to the employees. Company should also involve the consumers, allowing them to see first-hand the work business are doing for the community. If a brand has good news to share, like organic ingredients or recycled content, they should let consumers know. Consumers deserve to share in the good feelings associated with doing the right thing and many surveys have found that consumers are motivated to purchase a sustainable product over a conventional different. Declaring these benefits is a win-win from both a commercial and sustainability viewpoint.

The aptly applied CSR concept may bring along a variety of competitive advantages, such as enhanced access to capital and markets, increased sales and profits, operational cost savings, improved productivity and quality, efficient human resource base, improved brand image and reputation, enhanced customer loyalty, better decision making and risk management processes. For keeping CSR efforts thriving, business need to momentum and passion, and that have to come from the top. Origination’s stakeholders need to be fully committed, also need to focus on responsibilities that are meaningful and relevant to the clients, employees, and partners.

Taslim Ahammad, Assistant Professor

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University, Gopalganj, Bangladesh.