Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a trending topic for many organizations. As mentioned in an earlier posts, most businesses practice some form of CSR activity. This has not only created a tighter gap for differentiation, but it has also made consumers question the transparency of companies’ claims. It is crucial for business owners to understand the different responsibilities that compose CSR and promote their activities accordingly to avoid misconceptions of their efforts.
Mandatory responsibilities are the main reason for which CSR has gained popularity. These are responsibilities that companies must fulfill in order to survive as business entities. There are two specific responsibilities under this section: Economic and Legal.
Prior to looking at the outside world, organizations must address their financial standings. Profitability should be top-of-mind for all businesses. Companies that are profitable create job opportunities for their communities. Aside from this, these businesses can invest in activities to participate in other responsibilities.
This section of CSR pertains to legal acts companies must fulfill. Similarly to economic responsibilities, legal responsibilities are requirements for organizations to engage in business practices. Some legalities that businesses must enforce are security labour laws, environmental laws, criminal laws, and many others. In order to successfully execute this responsibility, organizations must be strongly aware of the laws that apply to them.
Unlike the mandatory responsibilities, self-imposed responsibilities are undertaken by businesses due to the owners and/ or employees’ desires to have a positive impact within their environment. These responsibilities can be described as Ethical and Philanthropic.
Ethical responsibilities pertain to the duty of following a morally correct path. This is not an obligation for organizations but rather a self-imposed mandate. Some activities that fall under this umbrella are practicing honesty with all stakeholders, being respectful to customers, and ensuring that all promises made are fulfilled.
The philanthropic responsibilities are those responsibilities taken on by companies that want to go above and beyond their call of duty. This section is highly denoted by organizations’ charitable actions such as service or monetary donations for specific community events and the implementation of processes to engage in environmentally friendly business practices. These are the responsibilities that truly differentiate businesses amongst their competitors while building a strong rapport with consumers.