Any business which wants to show others that it is conscious of the effects its actions can have on others is usually aware of the concept of corporate social responsibility. Also known as corporate citizenship, sustainable responsible business, corporate conscience and corporate social performance, corporate social responsibility is the manner in which a company incorporates ways of mitigating the effects of its activities into its overall business philosophy.
This means that any company, large or small, that is practicing corporate social responsibility is monitoring its own effectiveness in following ethical standards, laws and international requirements. This responsibility is the companys effort to maintain a watchful eye on the impact that its daily activities have on many different individuals, ranging from employees who work for the company to everyone who lives around the company and comes into contact with it regularly.
Corporate social responsibility can mean different things to different people. In some instances, it is the efforts of the company to positively promote community growth and development through enlisting public interest and support. To this end, it can encompass methods a company uses to eliminate harmful practices that endanger the environment as well as having a fundamental respect for the planet, all people and the ability of the company to remain profitable. Often the most effective corporate responsibility programmes are run by those who are responsible for running the company, such as the chief executive and board of directors.
Many organisations which engage in corporate social responsibility realise that they stand to achieve a great number of potential business benefits. Corporate responsibility influences key areas in any businesss operation, including human resources, brand differentiation, risk management and license to operate. Critics of corporate social responsibility claim that it is superficial to corporate operations and that without the engagement of the entire company, corporate social responsibility does not have a lasting impact. Proponents and those who are active supporters of corporate social responsibility would not agree with this.
Often ethics training, laws and regulations are open to different interpretations but the ultimate goal of corporate social responsibility is to ensure that a corporation keeps its operations above reproach by enforcing rules and regulations that protect the organisation, its members, the community and the public at large. From proper waste disposal to adequately informing stakeholders of operating costs, corporate social responsibility helps to promote ownership of, and participation in, the running of a company by everyone at all levels.