Corporate Social Responsibility Has Its Benefits

By Bowes, Barbara | Winnipeg Free Press, July 7, 2018 | Go to article overview

Corporate Social Responsibility Has Its Benefits


Bowes, Barbara, Winnipeg Free Press


The concept of social activism has been around for a long time. We see specialist groups forming to promote a specific area of social change, such as helping the homeless and/or protesting against the lack of services for the disabled. We see citizen watchdogs make presentations to legislative committees or protesting in front of various buildings.

Social issues are also studied and written about by university researchers, while radio and television personalities regularly invite guests to help bring key social issues to the forefront. All in all, many of our citizens are engaged as change agents to help make our world a better place to live.

However, one question is whether or not there is a role for corporations to play in this social-activist realm of activity. If so, what does this look like and what are the benefits to the corporation?

Let’s first look at a definition.

Social activism in its pure sense includes an individual’s involvement in the process of achieving political or social goals. This can range from writing letters and petitions to staging a protest with the goal of creating social change. From a corporate perspective, the term “corporate social responsibility” or CSR has become a popular phrase referring to being good corporate citizens, ensuring responsible business practices and having a corporate conscience.

This translates into corporations being involved in assisting and/or creating positive change within their businesses while taking responsibility for the social and environmental impact their business has on the communities they serve. In other words, it is all about good corporate citizenship.

Why is this a benefit to corporations?

First of all, consumers are much more conscious of purchasing their goods and services from corporations that hold similar values to their own. In addition, corporate responsibility has become a recruitment tool in that candidates considering employment with a corporation will now look at websites to determine what issues are supported, and determine if the corporation is a desirable place to work.

Overall, research has shown that corporate social responsibility leads to better brand recognition, it strengthens your business reputation as well as employee and customer loyalty, and it is known to lead to better financial performance. This strategy has long proven to increase profits, gain shareholder trust and create positive public relations, in addition to actually making a positive impact on their social issue of concern.

In fact, many local corporations are already involved in corporate social responsibility. Take, for instance, the number of corporations that “lend” senior staff to volunteer during our annual United Way campaigns. Not only does this contribute to the social goals of the agency, it is a means of providing developmental opportunities.

As well, in the last few weeks, I’ve written about two highly successful social activist-related school programs. This include the Better Business Bureau Foundation’s ethics certificate and the Dragon’s Nest program offered through the Learning Partners charity. Free Press readers have also recently read about the Business Council of Manitoba Youth CEO summer internship program, where a variety of corporations provide six-week work placements for 16 high-school students. And, of course, we can’t forget the Winnipeg Free Press Sunshine Fund that provides an opportunity for children to attend a subsidized summer camp program.

If your organization is not yet involved in corporate social responsibility, the time is now. The following provides a set of guidelines to help establish this as a goal for your organization. …

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