2017: The Year That Corporate Social Responsibility Was Redefined

2017 will be remembered as the year that corporate social responsibility (CSR) was redefined. Although CSR will always be grounded in business operations – from water conservation to supply chain transparency – recently, the stakes have gotten a lot higher.

Companies must now share not only what they stand for, but what they stand up for.   

Source: http://www.conecomm.com/research-blog/2017...

Corporate Social Responsibility & Stakeholder Theory

Businesses have traditionally not involved themselves in tackling the social challenges that countries face and for a long period, this was seen as a role of government.

Occasionally, a business, in very isolated cases would involve itself in some sort of philanthropy trying to solve some of these problems. The concern with the philanthropy perspective is that it was considered after the bottom line of the company and was also seen as an extra cost to the business at the expense of the shareholders.

The solving of social problems by business was seen to have direct implications to their economic results. The reason for this is that, traditionally the role for business has been to maximize profits. For example, under the neoclassical economics and several management theories, it has been assumed that the role of a business is to maximize economic gains for its shareholders.

In the recent past the shareholder’s theory is being replaced by the stakeholder’s theory. Stakeholder’s theory advocates that there are other parties involved in the business ecosystem which includes the likes of government, civil society and NGOs, trade unions, communities, financiers, general public, suppliers, employees and customers.

Source: https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/analys...

Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility

For over 50 years, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been used by businesses to address their ethical and philanthropic responsibilities in society. Traditionally, companies demonstrated their CSR commitments by offering their employees volunteer time, and by deploying some financial resources to worthy causes through sponsorships and charitable donations.

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Increasingly, a new generation of professionals is also asking more of their employers. They are looking for workplaces and leadership that demonstrate their values and act upon them. They expect more than charitable donations and employee volunteerism from their employers. They want to work in places that engage more effectively with customers, employees, investors and other key stakeholders around their larger social purpose.

Companies are being asked to better integrate their business goals with their public purpose. Recognizing that government can no longer solve societal issues alone, the public is also increasingly looking to the private sector for support.

Source: https://chiefexecutive.net/beyond-csr-lead...

Is Social Entrepreneurship Just A Trendy Movement?

Social enterprise – entrepreneurship that combines business nous with ethical aims – is on the rise. But is it anything more than a placebo effect that makes consumers momentarily feel good? Surely this marked acceleration of businesses driven by purpose as well as profit is excellent news?

For many critics of the rise of social enterprise, the answer is no. They are concerned we are getting a trend confused with a movement for change, particularly when it comes to retail solutions. They point out that at the customer end, the feel good factor only lasts as long as your recent purchase, and that these one-off acts of consumerism obscure the need for collaborative efforts to solve problems. This critique has become more pronounced with the entry of ‘big money’ into social enterprise. Some have gone so far as to call impact investment funds a “neoliberal takeover” of the sector.

There is also an argument to be made that social enterprises are plugging gaps that the government should, or at least has traditionally, filled. This leads to what some see as the perverse outcome of people profiting from poverty, particularly with the ‘buy-one-give-one’ model, which is a very clear have and have not scenario. With this sort of power differential at play, the question must be begged: is social enterprise solving problems, or is it reinforcing the dynamics that cause issues in the first place?

Source: https://thespinoff.co.nz/business/16-09-20...

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