Corporate social responsibility, frequently referred to as CSR, refers to a company’s efforts to be aware of and make a positive impact on the community and environment it does business in. These efforts go beyond what is mandated by law.
According to some academic studies, the principles and practice of corporate social responsibility has been evolving since the 1960s, steadily expanding to become a mainstay for the modern business, regardless of size.
In an increasingly globalised, connected world, the single-minded pursuit of profits is no longer acceptable for customers, stakeholders and even employees. CSR seeks to address this by incorporating sustainability into a longer-term vision of the company’s development.
CSR initiatives may incur some short-term costs, whether in manpower diverted from core business functions or monetary outlay, but the value they provide companies over the long-term arguably far outweighs the costs.
Benefits Of CSR
Builds positive corporate image: Positive public relations can be a positive side effect of CSR initiatives. For instance, by exerting pressure on or eliminating unethical or unsafe vendors in the supply chain, the company contributes to safer workplace culture in their community, while at the same time avoiding negative publicity if news that part of their supply chain is exploitative or dangerous for workers.
Attracts and retains talent: A company with a solid CSR framework will attract and retain talented individuals who care about the social impact of the company they work for, or are concerned about being associated with a company with a good public image.
How Is CSR Implemented
The holistic, sustainability focus of CSR is about building the business in a direction that aligns with a positive corporate image. As such, CSR initiatives must be aligned with business objectives and make financial sense.
CSR initiatives differ according to the nature of the business and the expertise of the company personnel. Here are some broad categories of CSR efforts.
Company-Supported Programmes: Companies could fund independent programmes that serve the community they operate in, such as educational or health promotion programmes. Larger corporations might even start separate trusts or foundations for this purpose.
Volunteering: Encouraging employees to participate in volunteer activities organised by the company is a way to help the beneficiaries as well as give employees a deeper perspective and appreciation of the community.
Business Processes: Implementing business processes and practices that are informed by socially conscious and responsible principles.
Championing Causes: If there are specific causes that resonate with a large percentage of the company’s employees, or is important to the community the company is situated in, companies can support these campaigns through donations or making various public gestures of support.
Philanthropy: Making donations to charitable causes in the form of cash, goods, or services.
CSR In Action
One example of a CSR initiative in Singapore is the SGX Bull Charge. Through its network of more than 750 companies listed on the Singapore Exchange, the SGX Bull Charge Charity Run attracts the highest participation of any corporate charity race in Singapore.
The event encourages SGX-listed and Singapore-registered companies to make donations for a good cause. In addition, the event gathers CEOs and employees of these companies to run alongside each other in a memorable race in the city.
This year’s run will be held on November 17. Check out the SGX Bull Charge page and sign your team up to run and support the five beneficiaries, namely, AWWA, Autism Association (Singapore), Community Chest, Fei Yue Community Services and Shared Services for Charities.
Which CSR activity do you think companies in Singapore should focus on? Comment below for a chance to win a pair of tickets for you and a friend to take part in the SGX Bull Charge Charity Run, courtesy of SGX! Winners will be notified via private message.
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