Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Recommendations for Businesses
Some of the secondary data authors have formulated their recommendations for businesses in terms of engaging in CSR activities with an increased level of efficiency. Most noteworthy recommendations are proposed by Jonker and Witte (2006), Asongu (2007), Bacher (2007), Schreck (2009), Hawkins (2009), Schwartz (2011) and others.
Reasoning about the importance of engaging in CSR activities for businesses Schreck (2009) states that “although beyond compliance firm behaviour might be a good indicator for socially responsible behaviour, it is critical to assume that CSR starts only where the law ends” (Schreck, 2009, p.11).
Secondary data authors also highlight the importance of sources of CSR principles and policies for businesses. “Sources of corporate social responsibilities are, for example, business principles that were developed by supranational organisations or are derived from international conferences, such as the Caux Round Table Business Principles. These Codes of Conduct are not legally binding” (Bacher, 2007, p.9).
Jonker and Witte (2006) formulate following recommendations for businesses in order to engage in CSR activities with an increased level of efficiency:
a) Achieving increased level of cooperation between the various departments of the business in terms of achieving CSR related aims and objectives;
b) Engagement in strategic use of social investment budget;
c) Introducing CSR aspects of the business at the initial stages of the project and integrating it with long-term aims and objectives;
d) Specifying the activities of stakeholder identification and engagement as a continuous process;
e) Ensuring the existence of CSR skills in all employees within the organisation;
f) Implementing an effective audit/review system in terms of improving the quality of CSR.
Some of the authors of secondary data sources like Johnson et al (2008) and Mullerat (2010) stress the role of government in regulating CSR-related issues. A specific recommendation formulated in that aspect states that “governments have to foster accountability and transparency in CSR practices to prevent them from being used as smoke screens by corporations to hide their malpractices. Governments can do this by, for example, actively encouraging companies to disclose their social and environmental policies in their accounts on voluntary basis” (Mullerat, 2010, p.102)
Engagement in Fairtrade
Active engagement in fairtrade has been acknowledged as another effective way of engaging in CSR. This piece of recommendation feature in the works of Freitag (2008), Hawkins (2009) and Segerlund (2010).
Specifically, it has been stated that “fairtrade has become widely appreciated as a sign of good practice and a sound approach to helping producers expand their market and reap the benefits of better price levels” (Hawkins, 2009, p.17)
However, it is important to note that the level of applicability of this specific recommendation is limited mainly to large multinational corporations and this recommendation can not be applied by many medium and small sized business.
Achieving Employee Engagement in CSR Initiatives
Hill et al (2003) and Aras and Crowther (2010) recommend businesses to engage employees in a greater extend in decision making and implementation processes related to CSR initiatives. Specifically, they state that “informing employees about CSR activities by multiple channels of communication is a powerful means of increasing firms’ social responsibility performance” (Aras and Crowther, 2010, p.359).
This viewpoint is also supported by Cilliberti et al (2008), who state that employee engagement in CSR related initiatives will positively contribute to the level of employee satisfaction and increase the level of efficiency of CSR initiatives.
Promoting and Rewarding of Voluntary CSR Initiatives Amongst Employees
A study conducted by Schwartz (2011) has focused on the issues of promoting and rewarding of voluntary CSR initiatives among employees. As a result of the research, the author convincingly argues that promoting and rewarding employees for their CSR initiatives on an individual basis positively contributes to the level of effectiveness of overall CSR performance of the business.
At the same time, Schwartz (2011) warns that companies should not rely on employee individual initiatives alone, instead they should be integrating employee individual initiatives with the overall business CSR strategy in order to achieve competitive edge within the relevant business front.
Developing Rules and Regulations to Enforce CSR
The issues of introducing legislations in terms of enforcing company CSR initiatives feature in the works of Horrigan (2010) and Mulerat (2010). The authors argue that unless effective rules and regulations are introduced companywide in order to implement CSR initiatives the level of its implementation will remain to be compromised.
The rationale behind this viewpoint is the idea according to which CSR related initiatives might be perceived to be unimportant by some employees, because they don’t seem to be creating value for the business in a direct manner. Therefore, Horrigan (2010) and Mulerat (2010) maintain that it is necessary to communicate the importance of CSR to employees at all levels, at the same time, introducing rules and regulations within company that ensures compliance to these rules and regulations.
Involving Marketing Team in CSR Initiatives
Asongu (2007) highlights the importance of marketing team in terms of devising and implementing CSR-related initiatives. “The marketing team should take the leadership role in the actually crafting and implementation of the Strategic CSR plan because marketing is the business function most closely related to satisfying and communicating with the most of an organisation’s stakeholders” (Asongu, 2007, p.24)
Furthermore, marketing team usually has an increased level of competency in the matters of promoting and communicating messages to the public and from this perspective involving marketing team in devising and implementing company CSR initiatives would increase the level of efficiency of the outcome of CSR initiatives.
Communicating CSR Initiatives to Various Stakeholders
The business advantages of communicating CSR initiatives to various stakeholders have been mentioned by Segerlund (2010), Tolhurst et al (2010), Sun et al (2010), and Fernando (2011). Specifically, it is noted that “enterprises should also provide reliable and systematic information on social effects of business activities, mainly by developing CSR sections on their websites and presenting CSR reports based on international reporting standards” (Sun et al, 2010, p.297).
Moreover, the advantages of intensive communication include increased level of brand awareness that is likely to positively contribute to the level of revenues for the company.
- Aras, G., & Crowther, D. (2010) A Handbook of Governance and Social Responsibility, Gower Publishing, UK
- Asongu., J.J. (2007) Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility in Practice, Greenview Publishing Company, USA
- Bacher., C. (2007). Corporate Social Responsibility, GRIN Verlag, Munich
- Cilliberti, F., Pontradolof, P., & Scozzi, B (2008). Investigating Corporate Social Responsibility in supply chains: and SME perspective. Journal of Cleaner production. 16:1579-1588
- Hawkins., D.E. (2006) Corporate Social Responsibility: Balancing Tomorrow’s Sustainability and Today’s Profitability, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, USA
- Hill, R.P., Stephens, D. & Smith, I. (2003). Corporate Social responsibility: An examination of individual firm behaviour. Business and Society Review. 108(3):339-364
- Horrigan., B. (2010) Corporate Social Responsibility in the 21st Century: Debates, Models and Practices Across Government, Law and Business, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK
- Fernando, A.C. (2011) Business Environment, Pearson, USA
- Freitag., A.R. (2008) Staking Claim: Public Relations Lenders Needed to Shape CSR Policy, Public Relations Quarterly, Volume:52, Issue:1
- Mullerat, R. (2010) Corporate Social Responsibility: Corporate Governance in the 21st Century, Kluwer Law International, Netherlands
- Jonker., J. & Witte., M. (2006) Management Models for Corporate Social Responsibility, Springer Publications, New York, USA
- Johnson., G., Scholes., K. & Whittington., R. (2008) Exploring Corporate Strategy, 8th Edition, FT Prentice Hall, Essex
- Schreck., P. (2009). The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility, Springer Publications, New York, USA
- Segerlund, L. (2010) Making Corporate Social Responsibility a Global Concern: Norm Construction in a Globalising World, Ashgate Publishing
- Schwartz, MS, 2011, Corporate Social Responsibility: An Ethical Approach, Broadview Press, USA