The world has undoubtedly progressed at an unprecedented pace. Now there are cutting-edge technological marvels, top-notch modern-day utilities, and exceptional virtual platforms. There are a plethora of advancements that rule our lives today. Everything from health to business has become easy to access. We have traveled a long way within no time. Humans have progressed decades within years and years within months. However, nothing comes without a price. There is always a downside to such rapid growth.
The pace of the world has engraved severe impacts on the environment and specific social fabric. Damaging business activities drive most of these harmful impacts. According to NCDC, rampant business activities are causing about $2 trillion of environmental costs per year. Apart from the environment, there are grave social aspects as well where companies are affecting negatively. Fortunately, most companies now recognize it and try to play their role in improving the situation. It gives rise to the contemporary business domain of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Organizational scholar, Archie Carroll, describes CSR across four levels as:
- Economic Responsibilities
- Legal Responsibilities
- Ethical Responsibilities
- Philanthropic Responsibilities
A business must work in these four areas to ensure a positive contribution to society and the environment. If you are wondering what these CSR activities are, this article can assist you. It mentions 5 CSR activities every business must abide by.
1. Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion refer to fair recruitment policies where companies hire people irrespective of their cultural backgrounds. They practice no bias based on caste, color, religion, gender, abilities and disabilities, and sexual orientation. In today’s era, many people are deprived of their fundamental rights merely on the basis of differences in culture, religion, etc. These rights also include equal employment opportunities. However, many organizations and social workers are devising and promoting social work values to uplift the marginalized.
Furthermore, diversity and inclusion enrich the workplace with different personalities and thoughts, promoting creativity and innovation. It also cascades a positive message in the entire organization and creates an inclusive atmosphere for everyone. According to HBR, companies with higher diversity show 19% higher innovation than others with lower diversity in the workplace. Moreover, it is a social responsibility of companies to ensure equal employment. Racial and religious bias has already created employment gaps in the market.
2. Charitable and Philanthropic Initiatives
The most feasible CSR activity is to participate in charity and donation. There are numerous large-scale charities like Aides and Red Cross that are doing excellent welfare work around the globe. You can donate to them and help them with their initiatives. There are several local charities as well that are working for the local community. You can aid their operations too. It will create a positive outlook for your brand and add a philanthropic element to your market presence.
The modern-day consumer admires and respects such efforts. Therefore, it will enhance your customer base and increase your revenue, which means more earning and more donations. So it behaves as a cycle. Helping a charity doesn’t always mean providing them financial help. If you don’t have enough financial muscle, you can help them with volunteering too. It assists these organizations, and they can scale their operations with the added workforce.
3. Carbon Footprint
Carbon Footprint refers to the total amount of Greenhouse gases released in the atmosphere. The more fuel and resources a company consumes to perform its operations, the higher its carbon footprint. Increased carbon footprint and higher greenhouse gas release are the biggest reasons for global climate change, especially global warming. According to the World Counts, the cost of climate change will reach a whopping $20 trillion by the end of 2020. Therefore, it is high time companies realize its significance and reduce their carbon footprint.
The best way to initiate a reduction in carbon footprint is to optimize supply chain management. The supply chain is the most significant contributor to a company’s carbon footprint. Significantly, logistics operations propel the carbon footprint. Therefore, the most responsible way to reduce it is to optimize supply chain operations. Large companies like Amazon, Levi Strauss, and Starbucks are working to enhance their supply chain processes to reduce their carbon footprint. Amazon aims to make 50% of its deliveries with a net-zero carbon footprint by 2025. Similarly, Levi Strauss plans to reduce 40% of carbon emissions by optimizing its supply chain operations.
4. Waste Reduction
According to Recover USA, global companies generate about 7.6 billion tons of industrial waste each year. These are mind-boggling amounts, and the environmental impacts are further quadrupled. The Guardian quotes that spendings reach a whopping $2.5 trillion each year to combat marine plastic waste problems. You can infer the damage it must be causing to the world at large.
Therefore, a small but highly substantial corporate social responsibility of businesses is to ensure waste reduction. You can reduce waste by reducing the packaging material around your products. You can even recycle and reuse office supplies and manage the cafeteria to reduce plastic waste by minimizing the consumption of single-use cutlery. You can revisit the production and process flow to see if there is any space for improvement. It’s all about ensuring minimum wastage through optimal resource utilization.
5. Community Involvement
Engaging with the people around a business is extremely important. Additionally, engagement on a community level becomes even more essential for meeting the social responsibilities of a business. Companies with social character engage communities around them in innovative ways. For instance, you can engage communities through plantation drives.
It provides an excellent avenue for healthy engagement of the community with internal employees. Moreover, it has positive environmental impacts too. You can plan a small get-together to value local special events. You can dedicate a day to celebrate it at your office space. You can also have community meetings, surveys, focus groups, and even online engagement with local communities. It can generate important insights about social activities while respecting their preferences. It provides a confidence boost for your employees as well. It also serves as a recreational instance for employees with a sense of contributing toward a noble cause.
CSR activities have become way more than just ostensive marketing gimmicks. Times have changed, and the consumer has become increasingly aware of the organizational impacts on the world. Now CSR has become more consumer-driven. People prefer interacting with companies that are socially responsible and considerate of their environmental impacts. Being socially accountable serves as a selling point in contemporary markets.
Moreover, when you are making millions, why not give back to society as well. We can only expect the CSR domain to expand in the future. Therefore, the smart move is to start incorporating CSR activities in your business operations. Activities discussed above can form a strong base of CSR for your company. Besides, there can be numerous CSR initiatives depending upon the industry and surroundings you operate in.
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