CSR Home Assignment

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1. Define the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility. Explain the concept of Triple Bottom Line.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is defined in simple words as the willingness of an organization to exceed its minimum obligations to stakeholders specified through regulations by taking responsibility for its impacts on the environment and the social well-being, offering an example to the world by being socially responsible. In other words, organizations no longer have just one aim, the one of gaining profit, but also the one of meeting the needs and wants of the current generation without compromising serving the needs and wants of future generations. That is why companies are asked to provide a strong sense of sustainability principles within their conduct of business which should demonstrate a high level of consideration towards social and environmental issues. Nowadays companies can’t experience an economic prosperity without the elements that are impacted by their actions.

The new trend of making business implies being an excellent corporate citizen, by taking care of the community and the environment, presenting a strong sense of care towards not only the internal stakeholders (owners, managers and employees), but also to the external stakeholders (customers, suppliers, shareholders, creditors and the entire society). This kind of care is explained through the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility which can be seen both as a mean and as an end of doing business.

First of all, CSR as a mean represents the strategic plan through which a company creates and delivers its products or services to the markets, which means that the idea of CSR is not a distant department of a company, but an integral department that exists within the core of the company, leading to the creation of values which can form the organizational culture. On the other hand, CSR can also be seen as end of doing business, a concept that implies maintaining the legitimacy of a company’s actions in the larger society by bringing stakeholders concerns to the foreground, meaning that elements of CSR are present even within the mission of the company, stating from the very beginning the importance of CSR activities for the company itself.

Even though Corporate Social Responsibility is seen as a solitary element, it presents itself in various types of initiatives: promoting a cause, cause-related marketing, social marketing, philanthropy, volunteering in the community and last but not least, performing socially responsible business practices. The first type of initiative, promoting a cause, consists in increasing awareness regarding a cause or to mobilize the public to donate or volunteer for a certain cause, a case presented by amfAR, a company that helps the people who are fighting against AIDS. This one organises fund raising events to which they invite a lot of celebrities who are willing to contribute to such a cause.

The second type of CSR inititiative is the cause-related marketing that occurs when a company states that a small part of the purchase price will go to a special cause, a situation found in the case of Dorna, the water company, which directs 2% of the price of one water bottle towards hospitals in order to help them buy neonatal intensive care units to help the children. The concept of social marketing refers to a CSR program through which companies aim to change negative behavior or persuade the society to adopt a positive behavior and this kind of CSR practice is present almost in every company, but they are most visible when it comes to important brands. For example, the UEFA recently created an ad that features the most important football players in the world and it presents the idea that there shouldn’t be such a thing as “racism” in the world, asking people to change their behavior which is irrational.

Also, CSR can also be represented through philantrophy, either directly through donations of money or goods and services, financing and scholarships, or indirectly through a long-term partnership with an NGO. A case of philanthropy is seen through the practices of Mc’Donalds, this company donating huge amounts of money to the creation of houses for single moms as well as places to stay for the parents whose children are in hospital.

The element of volunteering in the community is also present within the CSR practices of companies, these ones being frequently seen as the ones involved in actions liker planting trees, helping elder people with their food shopping or cleaning the parks within the city. On the other hand, the socially responsible business practices focus on being ethical, repecting the law and the citizens of the country (countries) in which these companies operate. For example, not hiring underage staff or making the employees work for more than 15 hours a day, a case found in China.

One way or another, the care that local and worldwide companies have for the environment and society is the image in the mirror of CSR and this one regards three main elements that form the “Triple Bottom Line”. This concept refers to the three main target of Corporate Social Responsibility that are: planet, people, profit, each of them receiving equal consideration from the companies.

The planet part of the Triple Bottom Line, also called the environmental responsibility, represents the implementation of sustainable prices and the reduction of environmental impact through a series of actions like recycling, reducing the carbon footprint, using the natural resources responsibly (reducing material and water waste), using renewable electricity throughout the stores, offices and warehouses of each company, as well as offering an example to their customers to make climate-smart decisions.

The people element of the concept, also called the social responsibility, focuses on the fair treatment of employees, as well as conducting favourable practices in the communities where the companies conduct their business. Social responsibility can be expressed through the care that companies place for their employees ( good work conditions and schedules, good salaries, assuring a health insurance, giving bonuses to those who come up with ideas or who performed in an excellent way), but also through educational programs, sponsorship activities, philanthropic support or health related projects.

The last element of the Triple Bottom Line is the profit, this one being affected in a positive way by the conduct of Corporate Social Responsibility because by doing the right thing for the society companies create a better image for themselves, becoming more reliable, people starting to consider them more and more because they see that these companies are not just profit seekers, but they are also “community angels”, helping the society to develop, as well as maintaining the environment clean.

So, all in all, the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility represents the efforts that companies are willing to take, apart from the ones imposed by law and by their will of surviving and gaining profit of the market, in order to create a better society and a healthy environment, giving the same chances to happiness to future generations.

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