Redefining Corporate Social Responsibility

By Alex Casbara, June 26th 2014


Businesses receive favorable public attention when leveraging their resources and expertise for community benefit. Consumers value philanthropic endeavors that mend the infirmed, empower the underrepresented, repair broken ecosystems, and respond to our global woes. By embracing this notion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), businesses generate positive publicity, improve their reputation, and engage the future generations of employees and customers concerned with global equity and environmental sustainability.

At the core, CSR aspires to move beyond shallow PR operations to create innovative market opportunities with tangible social benefits. The most successful CSR campaigns tackle issues that directly pertain to a company’s business model, simultaneously improving social welfare and ensuring long-term corporate sustainability.

In 2008, the Häagen-Dazs ice cream company initiated a CSR campaign focused on honeybee preservation. The ice cream company implicitly relies on honeybees to pollinate many ingredients required for their product; without honeybees, worldwide pollination would decline, thus impacting Häagen-Dazs’ ability to procure ingredients for their ice cream. By supporting research to understand the global honeybee collapse, Häagen-Dazs addresses an environmental catastrophe that threatens international food networks and their own supply chain.

      Photo: Bob Peterson, Wikimedia Commons

 

This successful CSR example illustrates the symbiosis between enterprise and community. If the economic sector can continue to align civic issues with business goals, CSR will become a potent method of creating healthy societies and wealthy economies.   

 

Further Reading:

Harvard Business Review - Strategy & Society: The Link between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility by Michael E. Porter


TIME Magazine - Why Companies Can No Longer Afford to Ignore Their Social Responsibilities


Forbes - The Companies With the Best CSR Reputations