When it comes to recognition, the society is known to celebrate the most responsible organisations rather than the most profitable ones. People now perceive, recognise, and patronise organisations with a sense of responsibility towards the communities in which they operate. The need for social responsibility is no longer an option but a necessity for corporate sustainability.
What is corporate Social responsibility?
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a form of business self-regulation with the aim of social accountability and making a positive impact on the society. The conversation about CSR is diverse in nature, but it’s nevertheless incomplete without that positive contribution to societal needs. CSR is generally understood as a strategic initiative that contributes to the overall business success and the organisation’s image. It is a tool that indirectly persuades the public that an organisation’s aims, policies, and services rendered are done with the underserved in mind.
A lot of successful companies today use social responsibility as a means to give back to the society and express gratitude to customers. It is mostly achieved through welfare projects such as access to education, provision of portable drinking water, good health care, creation of job opportunities and provision of shelter for the poor masses, provision of electricity in rural areas, etc.
Organisations that engage in CSR believe that not only does it improve the economy and the community, but also attracts investors and customers to their brands.
In West African countries like Nigeria, sustainable businesses, NGOs, and companies are engaged in corporate social responsibility as an avenue to connect with their audience and the society as a whole.
As the world is currently at a phase where the importance of goodwill cannot be overlooked, it is pertinent we take a look at the need for corporate organisations, stakeholders, and well-meaning individuals to inculcate CSR in to their business model.
The need for corporate social responsibility
Influencing public expectation: The world has evolved significantly compared to the previous generations. Today, the society demands more from a business than just the provision of goods and services. Being socially responsible adds to the positive perception people have towards an organisation.
It draws in donors and Investors: Investors are known to take into cognizance the need to support organisations that work to make the world a better place. Corporations that are dedicated to societal needs also attract the goodwill of donors. Incorporating CSR is thus an effective way to attract socially-minded individuals.
To ensure long-term viability and sustainability: Yes, it can’t be “business as usual at all times.” CSR tends to push an organisation to become innovative and creative while trying to adjust to what customers want. The top most items on list of what customers want is social responsibility, because it would have an impact on the host community where it is done.
More employees are attracted by social responsibility: If given the opportunity, the majority of the patriotic workforce wishes to make a difference in their own small way. So they prioritise joining an organisation that operates in line with their vision. This makes the organisation stronger and more attractive to employees, and the good work wouldn’t stop spreading and generating referrals from willing employees.
It provides businesses with a competitive advantage: Customers’ perceptions of the organisations that give back to the society often guide them in decision making. Organisations might have the same products and services, but the fact that one of them is involved in social issues gives an edge over the others. It becomes more appealing to customers to be loyal to that organisation that provides social impact since it is a means to reduce poverty. Directly or indirectly, the marketing purposes of such an organisation have also been achieved.
There may be the concern about the cost implication of putting together a CSR project, but the truth is that in the long run, it is totally worth it and the pros outweigh the cons.
Some of these benefits, if well-executed, include the following: access to financial resources and distribution channels, increased profit, availability of social impact data, operational cost savings, increased customer service and loyalty, an effective human resource base, improved brand image and reputation, improved productivity, and good decision-making.
There will always be a need when it comes to all spheres of life and the more there are people, bodies or organisations available to meet that need, the better our societies will be.
In conclusion, I’ll like to implore organisations that beyond making profits, corporate social responsibility focuses on the idea that organisations have a social obligation to fulfil, which is a win-win in the long run for both the organisations and the society at large.
Imasekha is co-founder of Edugrant, an online platform that links students to sponsors and mentors