Corporate social responsibility for many corporate bodies means engaging in some philanthropic community ventures like sponsorship, donations or giving in kind programs. However, some companies have been able to build strong relationships and partnerships with the communities and are offering practical solutions to the many social problems. That notwithstanding, most companies and organization consider such ventures as a donor-recipient relationship, rather than a mutually benefiting programs. Success of any such activities is normally considered in terms of financial contribution, the employee satisfaction or the effects on the social issue.
As important as they are, such achievements do not convince many companies and shareholders because they believe that a company can only post strong profits so has to benefit everyone. And for that matter, most corporate entities do not have any corporate social responsibility program but would once in a while donate to some charitable activities as a mere window dressing to hoodwink the public that they are committed to such obligations. This paper will provide examples of companies with strong corporate social responsibility programs and have been quite successful in terms of profitability.
The scale and forms of benefit strong CSR programs would offer a company can vary and more often depends on the nature of the business. Quantification of the benefits may also be a difficult task; however, there are good reasons why every corporate organization should adopt a CSR programs or policies in its operations (Orlitzky, Frank, Schmidt, & Rynes, 2003). Strong social responsibility enables companies to manage risk. Managing risk is an integral part of every corporate strategy. An organization’s reputation which may take years to build may be damage in a matter of hours through accidents and incidents that are manageable.
Scandals like corruption or environmental accidents may severely ruin the reputation of the company. Moreover, such incidences may attract unnecessary attention from the media, government, the courts as well as the regulations, damaging the company’s reputation further. However, developing and sticking to certain corporate social responsibilities within the company and the community can work to obstruct some of these risks. IBM has built a strong image as one of the leading companies helping in conservation of energy and environment.
This has earned it respect as an environmental friendly company even as reap financial benefits from its businesses (IBM Responsibility n. d). Corporate social responsibility is a great marketing tool for many companies that have been able to exploit its benefits. In crowded and competitive markets, companies seek to have unique selling proposition which may differentiate them from other competitors in the minds of potential costumers (Orlitzky, Frank, Schmidt, & Rynes, 2003). Strong corporate social responsibility can play a vital role in helping companies build strong loyal costumer base based on their distinctive ethical values.
Some of the major brands like America Apparel and The Body Shop have been built on strong ethical values. Corporate service organizations may also benefit by establishing a strong reputation and best practice. Coca-Cola is one company that has been able to build a strong reputation in the market through its CSR programs. Its latest campaign dubbed Live Positively is geared towards promoting a positive and sustainable living in the world through different initiatives (Coca-Cola Company n. d. ). Although it is a peaceful message to everyone, it would help the company entrench itself as one of the number one leader in global business.
A corporate social responsibility program can also be helpful in recruitment and retention of employees, especially in a competitive graduate students market. Young graduates looking for jobs normally ask about a company’s corporate social responsibility policies during interviews and firms with strong and comprehensive policies may have an edge in not only absorbing such recruits but also retaining them for a long time. Corporate social responsibility can aid in enhancing the employees’ perception about the company, especially when they are considered in the company’s CSR programs like fundraising activities and community volunteering.
A good example of a company with such programs is the Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) which has an Employee Involvement Policy Framework and Program. This program started in 2004 under the joint watch of the Human Resources and Community Affairs, gives support to employees and encourage their participation in community development through voluntary programs (CSR Europe 2010). Every company or corporate body does not welcome external interference like taxation or government regulations in their operations.
Having strong corporate social responsibility programs may be the first step towards convincing the government and the general public that the company does not take lightly the social issues like health, safety and environment problems, that affects the public in a community or the country in which it operates (Orlitzky, Frank, Schmidt, & Rynes, 2003). This will persuade the government to license a company or organization as good corporate citizens with regards to the labor standards and its impact on the environment.
Ecolab which was ranked number two among the world’s most ethical companies in 2009, has been a good example of how strong CSR programs can be beneficial both to the company and the country at large. The company has a strong commitment to help the United States reduced its greenhouse gas emission by 20 percent per every sale made between 2006 and 2012 (Environmental Leader, 2010). This initiative not only enables the company increase its sales but also helps the company build a good reputation among the public and the government.
Such company may not face difficulties when it wants to acquire license for new operations either within the US or in any country. In conclusion, strong corporate social responsibility is not only a community development initiative but also a long-term corporate financial investment. The benefits of such a program are mutually good for the existence and operation of any business and for the development of the community and country where businesses operate and are sustained. References IBM Responsibility (n. d). IBM Corporate Responsibility. Retrieved on August 14, 2010, from
http://webcache. googleusercontent. com/search? q=cache:obfJZix- yVoJ:www. ibm. com/ibm/responsibility/+ibm+CSR+programs&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ke&client=firefox-a Coca-Cola Company (n. d. ). Sustainability: Corporate Responsibility. Retrieved on August 14, 2010, from http://webcache. googleusercontent. com/search? q=cache:LJLNHF3zpOcJ:www. thecoca-colacompany. com/citizenship/+cocacola+CSR+program&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ke&client=firefox-a CSR Europe (2010). Employee Involvement Program. Retrieved on August 14, 2010, from http://webcache. googleusercontent. com/search?
q=cache:TEaWduxbx68J:www. csreurope. org/solutions. php%3Faction%3Dshow_solution%26solution_id%3D299+microsoft+CSR+program&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ke&client=firefox-a Environmental Leader (2010 April, 8). Ecolab Sets New Goals for Water Use, Waste and Effluent Water. Retrieved on August 14, 2010, from http://www. environmentalleader. com/2010/04/08/ecolab-sets-new-goals-for-water-use-waste-and-effluent-water/ Orlitzky, M. Frank L. Schmidt, S. & Rynes, L. (2003). Corporate Social and Financial Performance: A Meta-analysis. Organization Studies, Vol. 24 (3): 403-441.