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Corporate Social Responsibility

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Corporate Social Responsibility is a significant concern for companies as society has started to place a significant amount of importance on what companies are doing for society as a whole. Corporate social responsibility is what a company does that goes beyond what the law requires in order to achieve long term goals aimed at improving society as a whole. If I were the Chief Executive Officer of a company I would embrace corporate social responsibility because in my opinion having an internal social impact will eventually reach out externally to the public. Largely associated with big companies, corporate social responsibility has received much more attention because of their higher profile, but it is equally important in smaller sized companies as well.

Attention given to CSR

Stakeholders in a corporation want good returns on their investments and demand high profits, growth and share prices. If these are not achieved, they put pressure on management or they simply sell their shares. The actions of shareholders establish a major limiting factor on a corporation's activities. However, actions have been taken by shareholders and the roles of socially responsible investment funds can be given as an example. This is because socially responsible investment funds have an approach to investment that involves taking social and environmental factors into account in addition to financial performance when selecting the companies with which to invest. Stakeholders also compare companies in areas of ethics such as low wages, poor working conditions, discrimination and pollution. This has gained much attention from stakeholders because they have the opportunity that the company that they are investing in is doing the right things and ensure ethics are relied upon heavily. They want to ensure that with the added attention on social responsibility both in the corporate industry and society, stakeholders now more than ever want to give to companies that are living up to the societal morals, values and ethics. If not, this could lead to lawsuits and other judicial requirements that are associated with poor corporate responsibility. In an article from Forbes magazine, it states that “the idea that a business has a societal obligation was evident dating back to the nineteenth century”. (Forbes). In the article is gives a couple of examples of this. The first is about a town near Chicago that provided workers and their families with living amenities in areas that had many parts that were slums. In this example, the motivation behind this was due to the industrial unrest and corporations in the manufacturing and factory industries at the time wanted to combat this unrest by ensuring that the took care of their workforce by any and all means possible. Another example of this was at a Coca-Cola bottling company in China. Here the company invested in water conservation in an effort to reduce the volume of water used in the plant. This in turn saved billions of liters of water in a country that is in a water crisis. This company was acting ethically by voluntarily working above and beyond the means of local laws associated with water use and uses this issue as a positive influence at its business core. This is exceptional work ethic in my opinion and stakeholders would be running to the doorstep of a company that lives and operates like this. This positive influence is equally contagious as negative influences are. Though more challenging it does have an effect that would reap many benefits economically and ethically.

Corporate budgeting

Giving a significant portion of my corporate budget to invest in Corporate Social Responsibility is something that I would. Having corporate social responsible investments in my opinion would show my corporation all the way down to the newest employee that there is a level of care of not only the local environment, but one that would have a lasting positive impact in our society. The societal impact would have a lot more benefit if I was to invest a significant amount to corporate social responsibility. Many business owners and managers see corporate social responsibility as something that is not really connected to growing the business and profits. This is very inaccurate. Corporate social responsibility can make all the difference and give you a competitive edge. Initiatives such as pro bono work, philanthropy, support for community-building initiatives and environmental awareness can add significant value to your company and if the program is well designed the benefits far outweigh the costs. Being socially responsible creates goodwill and a positive image for your brand. Trust and a good reputation are some of your company’s most valuable assets. In fact, without these, you wouldn’t even have a business. You can nurture these important assets by being socially responsible. It is however, crucial that you devise the right socially responsible program for your business. When used properly, it will open up a myriad of new relationships and opportunities. Not only will your success grow, but so will your company’s culture. It will become a culture which you, your staff and the wider community genuinely believe in. An example of such culture formation is captured in an article of the Byrraju Foundation. They are a non-profit Foundation that is bridging the gap between urban and rural communities. The Byrraju Foundation is committed to transforming the quality of life of the rural underprivileged. The Foundation pursues communities to rebuild and construct independent communities and use a universal approach. They look to transform lives by affording the local communities the opportunity to have healthcare, sanitation, safe water to consume, academics and training in life skills. They are currently operating in approximately 200 villages and impacting over 3 million lives. Their key is in their core values which are with community involvement and knowledge based applications that get the work done. The Foundation uses Lean Six Sigma as their tool box to help design these new processes that they are introducing in both old and new processes. In turn, the processes become owned and operated independently by their communities. These processes that have significant technological ties build advantageous and continuing modifications in all aspects of life in a condensed period of time with astounding results. I can personally attest to the positive feedback received once I took what I had learned in Lean Six Sigma training seminars. The Lean Six Sigma training that I received was really a professional life changing experience. It has changed my overall outlook on how to effectively manage people to get something accomplished. It not only afforded me the opportunity to grow but it enhanced the capabilities of those around me. Process improvements are inherent to having change and it is how effectively you are able to incorporate that process improvement by having a collaborative buy-in from your colleagues and workers. Once the corporate buy-in, positive results will transpire improving old processes and establishing new ones.

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