Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Corporate Social Responsibility

Suppose that you are an owner or manager of a large company, and you have a choice to make. Your company has the option of working on one of two projects. One would make a lot of money for your company but could harm the environment or destroy a community. The other one would make much less money for you but would protect the local people. Which one should you choose?

If you chose the second of the two options, you would be part of a movement called Corporate Social Responsibility, which says that businesses are responsible for how their actions affect others. For many years, people around the world have believed that businesses are not just about making money. They believe that it is the duty of business owners to try to improve life for everyone their company affects, not just themselves.

Although the idea has been around for a long time, the term “corporate social responsibility” started to become popular in the 1960s and 1970s. The idea is that every business, large or small, affects many more people than just the owners, employees, and people who have invested money in the company.

The people who are affected directly or indirectly by a business are known as “stakeholders.” They might be people in the community whose small business failed because a big business moved in or who become sick because of the pollution from a factory. They might also be people who have better hospitals and schools because of the wealth a business has brought to the region. Whether the effect on the community is good or bad, every business affects more than just the people who work there.

The idea behind corporate social responsibility is to increase the good effects a business has on the community and to decrease the bad ones. Some companies help the environment by reducing their energy use. Others give their employees good benefits such as free university education and a generous retirement income. Some companies also raise money to help with special projects like protecting a rainforest or buying Fair Trade products that ensure employees producing the products are paid a fair wage for their work.

Not everyone agrees with the principle of corporate social responsibility. Many people think that the main purpose of business is to make money, not to work at community development.  Often, the amount of time and money needed to be socially responsible deters employers from investing in socially responsible programs.

For corporate social responsibility to work, businesses often need the government or social agencies to advise them. Industry Canada is one government agency that works with corporations and the public to try to ensure social responsibility, while the media, the public, and non-profit organizations like Greenpeace can also hold corporations responsible for their actions. Together, the different groups can help companies to benefit as many people as possible and to protect the environment.

(how can people get involved, how can a student make a change to a company they think should be more responsible, or how can they nominate a company they think is doing a good job…give me more info and contact information, be as specific as possible)



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