CSR Begins Shift From Moral Value to Standard Operating Procedure at Companies

by Aman Singh Das | February 03, 2010

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When you are weighing a potential employer, how much does their diversity advancement and initiative feature in your decision? And how about the company's CSR initiatives? Admittedly, not much has been made evident about the relevance and the prominence (or not) of a company's CSR initiatives in employee engagement and loyalty. However, a survey conducted by Coca-Cola Enterprises among 60,000 staffers suggests otherwise, stating that corporate social responsibility was the second biggest driver of staff engagement, after leadership.

With several executives discussing sustainability at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and the release of the Global 100 list of Sustainable Companies, there is a buzz in the air. Google CEO Eric Schmidt on a panel discussing capitalism, said for Google there is no difference between the business and social responsibilities of a company. Citing Google's motto he added, "Innovation is fundamentally about how the world can become a better place." Indra Nooyi, the chief of PepsiCo, sharing the same panel discussed how companies were realizing they had to give back and once again strive to become good citizens, adding with a chuckle, "I'll make this a personal challenge for myself, what the hell!"

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CSR advocates in the U.S. have been asking the private sector to start dealing with climate change and social enterprise without waiting for government regulation. Now it seems that some businesses are starting to take note and move forward. Despite cutbacks to CSR budgets last year at most companies, there is slow evidence that the trend is changing. For the better. Scott Beaudoin, director for cause marketing with MS&L, a global communications firm, is quoted today in the WSJ giving credence to the shift. "Companies are asking how they can be socially responsible in a way that also moves the business forward. It's no longer about having one corporate social responsibility guy who is supposed to be the moral compass for the company, like a chaplain in an Army regiment. It's about making sustainable business the standard operating procedure," he says.

However, without government regulation and standards in place, businesses will only move forward so much in becoming socially responsible enterprises. While consumers and employees are acting as big drivers to introduce CSR within the organizations, if businesses aren't handed a legal, binding document of regulations, all the efforts will remain philanthropic in action and reputation-building in nature for the most part.

Filed Under: CSR

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