CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (CSR)

"We have a responsibility to look after our planet. It is our only home." The Dalai Lama

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) also called corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship, responsible business and corporate social opportunity is a concept whereby organizations consider the interests of society by taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, communities and other stakeholders, as well as the environment. This obligation is seen to extend beyond the statutory obligation to comply with legislation and sees organizations voluntarily taking further steps to improve the quality of life for employees and their families as well as for the local community and society at large.

As we pursue our strategies world-wide, we accept a social and environmental responsibility as well. These responsibilities include the promotion of a sustainable economy and recognition of the accountability we have to the economies, environments, and communities where we do business around the world. Social obligation is much bigger than supporting worthy causes. It includes anything that impacts people and the quality of their lives.

With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that the strategy of environmental exploitation that characterized the 20th century is reaching the end of its natural life. We are in the early stages of a transition from an attitude that, in Herman Daly's felicitous phrase, 'treat the Earth like a business in liquidation' to one that is committed to preserving the planet's 'natural capital.' The principle underlying this shift is really quite simple: if we want a high quality of life for ourselves and future generations - a high quality of life in all its senses - we cannot continue to degrade the quality of the natural systems of which we are a part.

The 'environmental crisis' has happened because the human household or economy is in conflict at almost every point with the household of nature. We have built our household on the assumption that the natural household is simple and can be simply used. We have assumed increasingly over the last five hundred years that nature is merely a supply of 'raw materials,' and that we may safely possess those materials by taking them...And so we will be wrong if we attempt to correct what we perceive as 'environmental' problems without correcting the economic oversimplification that caused them.

We need a new system of values, a system of the organic unity between humankind and nature and the ethic of global responsibility. By accepting responsibility, we take effective steps toward our goal: an inclusive human society on a habitable planet, a society that works for all humans and for all nonhumans. By accepting responsibility, we move closer to creating a world that works for all.

In this challenging environment, many of our clients have turned to us for help in assessing their CSR strengths and weaknesses, and developing plans to enhance this increasingly important aspect of corporate reputation.

We view CSR as a part of a client's overall issues management initiative. As such, it is an ongoing process of aligning corporate behaviour with stakeholder expectations. Issues become issues when this alignment is missing. But through a process of identifying potential CSR issues early, prioritizing them, and closely monitoring their evolution, they can be managed-either by changing the company's behaviour or its stakeholders' expectations, or both. Over the years, we have developed a methodology for managing issues for clients in a wide variety of industries.

We also believe that CSR issues, if managed well, can actually be an opportunity to differentiate a company. A great example is diversity. While many companies have struggled to embrace diversity, often coming under great scrutiny by critic or activist groups as a result, others have set a great example and receive frequent accolades for the strides they have made in creating a diverse workplace. It sets them apart as Employers of Choice.

Modern society will find no solution to the ecological problem unless it takes a serious look at its lifestyle. The future belongs to those who understand that doing more with less is compassionate, prosperous, and enduring, and thus more intelligent, even competitive.

    
 
 
     
 
        
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