Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Reimagining the World of Business
Updated: May 17
With the world rapidly changing, sometimes I feel dizzy but in an excited way; in anticipation of what is to come. It is no longer business as usual. The 9-5 jobs, one-man business, corporate culture, labor force…all of it…the landscape isn’t as it was years ago.
Recently, I've taken an interest in how businesses can be a force for good. This became quite evident after I worked on a project a few months ago. Our case study was on Patagonia, a company widely regarded as the most responsible company in the world due to its mind-blowing focus on sustainability, people, and the planet in all its operations. One of the very remarkable assignments I did weeks after was showing my cousin how he could pursue a career in graphics/product design and social impact. Basically, I told him how he could merge his interests with a cause he cared about to promote positive change.
What am I driving at?
You see, dear reader, this is just one of many ways in which the way we do business is changing in today's society.
Consumers (especially those of us in the millennials and Gen Z group) are beginning to research how a company is promoting good in society and they boycott companies whose values/ethics do not align with theirs.
Though in a slow but sure way, employees are speaking up on unfair treatment at work.
Today's job seekers are advocating for fairness and equity in recruitment processes.
Young people are setting up enterprises (be it profit or non-profit) to address societal causes that they care about.
People are redefining what productivity at work means for them.
Do you get this kind of social change?
In a survey conducted by EVERFI on adult consumers, nearly half of the responders felt that companies have the duty to take action to improve societal problems.
All these, in whatever form they appear is what is referred to as Corporate Social Responsibility. I like this term because I think it perfectly encapsulates the relationship between social change and social impact in all things business, entrepreneurship, work, and the labor force.
Formally speaking, what is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
As defined by the UN Industrial Development Organization, Corporate Social Responsibility is a management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns into their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders. It is based on the premise that companies should not exist merely for profit but have a responsibility towards the public that accepted it. It's co-existent and operates on a profit-people-planet model.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is divided into four categories: environmental, philanthropic, ethical, and economic responsibility.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not a new concept. According to research published in the International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility, it is possible to trace the business' concern for society several centuries back.
It's just that the responsibilities attached to the term are formed according to the coloration of each society it is present in. It's like a rolling stone that gathers or doesn't gather moss, depending on its relevance over time.
Why Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
According to Yara Shahidi in a Forbes Women interview, there's so much happening that you can not care. In today's society, there are so many injustices and societal transformations that people are stepping up to the challenge of making the world a better place, advocating for causes they care about in every sphere, including corporate culture.
To me, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goes way beyond developing and implementing programs short term. It is a culture that is infused in every operation of the company to ensure effective results for the betterment of society.
People need to feel empowered to influence change in their communities, and the businesses they patronize, the work they do, and the environment they're in, should motivate them to do more within their capacity.
Feeling inspired by all this?
Do you have a business/enterprise and want to positively impact your community but don't know how to do so?
Discover how you can leverage your skills to address causes you care about by serving in spaces of interest.
Get involved in volunteering
Depending on your time, resources and capacity, consider offering support to your colleagues who are struggling at work
Develop a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program that aligns with your service/area of expertise. This makes it much easier and effective to carry out.
Empower your company or place of work to be involved in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) culture. One valuable reason? 88% of consumers want you to help them make a difference.
Be ethical and transparent in all your communications and operations.
Invest in community engagement
Redefine what productivity means in your workplace.
Partner with purpose driven organizations
There are so many more things you can do. If you have an idea for change, go for it!
Taking a walk down history helps us better understand things: Corporate Social Responsibility: A Brief History
WRITTEN BY Tomilayo Oluyamo
Tomi is an undergraduate Mass Communication student who is very interested in quality education, socio-political history, impact communications, and the social enterprise sector in Africa. She is an aspiring literary artist who enjoys working on impact-driven projects and hopes to pursue a career in international development. At the center of what she does is her belief in God and helping young Nigerians showcase their brilliance by creating access to transformative opportunities. An avid learner, Tomi is always open to exploring spaces and connecting with young people like her who are incredibly passionate about designing solutions and improving their communities.
EDITED BY Chizulu Uwolloh.
'Zulu is a writer, self-proclaimed bibliophile, lawyer, and international development passionate about social impact and showing people how they can create change in their communities. Zulu Uwolloh is a lawyer and international development professional. She is also the founder of Kurerie, a digital platform, and community that amplifies the voices of youth making an impact in their communities. Kurerie educates young people on how they can become active stakeholders in the achievement of the SDGs. She is passionate about showing young people that they can change the world with the smallest actions.
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