The Strategic Advantage of Corporate Social Responsibility

What it is, and why you don’t want to be left behind

By Kyleen Myrah, CMA with Sue Manzuik and Dawn Wilkinson

What’s all the buzz? Corporate social responsibility is booming; it is no longer considered on the fringe, but rather, has entered the mainstream. Business leaders like Sir Richard Branson are leading the charge and shaking up the traditional approach to business:

“We need a new mindset to make capitalism an acceptable force in the world. If businesses are purely about profit and amassing bonuses, screwing people and the world in the process, then they will not be around for long, and don’t deserve to be. But if they start to be a force for good, I genuinely think we could get on top of most of the problems of the world. And people will have a lot of fun. It is just such a satisfying way of doing things.”

Read the news, listen to the radio or walk through a community. It’s no secret that there are a number of growing social challenges, including homelessness and hunger, and limited funding available to help solve these issues and support those in need. Cutbacks in traditional funding sources, coupled with an increased demand for services has led to many non-profit organizations facing some very tough decisions.

However, these challenges have brought forth a renewed commitment from the community to find solutions. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has emerged as an important consideration for business owners, employees and consumers. CSR is not just about ethical business practices anymore but has evolved to include active participation by businesses in the communities in which they work and live. By becoming a force for positive change, businesses are creating policies and procedures that support a strong and healthy community.

Defining Corporate Social Responsibility

There is confusion about how to describe CSR, and what qualifies as CSR activity. Triple bottom line, corporate sustainability, corporate citizenship, social responsibility, philanthropy, responsible business, community investment and stakeholder engagement are just some of the phrases used to describe the growing focus of business aligning their practices with the greater good. Doing business today is as much about the traditional bottom line model of profitability as it is about how to enhance the social and environmental region in which companies operate.

Read the full article in the Summer 2012 issue of Update magazine.

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