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Corporate social responsibility and sustainability– what does it all mean for me and my business.
What is CSR?
CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility.
You may have heard about Corporate social responsibility (CSR) as:
Corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship, responsible business, sustainable responsible business (SRB), or corporate social performance. All these tell a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model.
Responsible business and corporate social responsibility is about companies identifying risks and carrying out their business in a manner that produces a positive impact on the society (collective communities, cultures…), the environment and their business.
CSR is the driving force behind a fundamental principle:
The objectives of a business shouldn’t merely transcend realizing profits for shareholders.
CSR charts the course for business to treat employees well, preserve the environment, develop sound corporate governance, support strategic philanthropy, foster human rights and respect cultural differences as well as to help building a better business among others.
CSR in the Gulf
In the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC), the notion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is becoming a topic of great interest among business leaders and government officials.
Basically, the notion of CSR has been led by the West through the belief that corporations can better contribute to the public good by focusing on their core competences.
In the GCC region, companies that have started to engage CSR activities have primarily done it through corporate philanthropy. That is only one aspect of CSR!
Recently however, they start to cultivate a deeper understanding of the notion and its implications. Companies realised that they need to integrate CSR into their corporate strategies and managerial practices
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is the capacity to endure.
A Sustainable development is a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (The Brundtland Commission)
"We are ever more becoming aware of the extent of our collective ability to cause damage to our planet. The climate change, natural resources depletion, wastes and pollution levels are just some aspects that we immediately recognize.
With sustainability as a driving concept, we can reverse the trend and ensure a better future.
Sustainability is a comprehensive and responsible approach to managing social, environmental, and economic demand. It means good stewardship of our society and our environment, both at local and global levels.
Ultimately, sustainability strives for the balance between enhancing people's standard of living and the limits of our planet's resources, so that our choices do not lessen those of future generations."
Conducted properly, CSR will have a lasting effect on a business’ various stakeholders.
Example of stakeholders: Customers, employees, executives, non-executive board members, investors, lenders, vendors, suppliers, governments, NGOs, local communities, environmentalists, charities, foundations, religious groups and cultural organizations.
Designing and implementing CSR imply to follow some measurements called Standards.
Responsible Society is a competent partner in introducing and implementing various standards in your business:
from SA 8000 (labor practices) to ISO 14001 (environmental management system)
from GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) to UN Global Compact (COP – communication on progress)
from AA1000 series to ISO 26000