Businesses work in a wider social environment in which they have a responsibility to a range of stakeholders including the wider community.
The term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to the responsibility that modern business organisations have to creating a healthy and prosperous society. Businesses do not work in isolation, e.g:
- the products and services that they provide are consumed by large numbers of consumers, their employees are part of wider communities, in which they have responsibilities to families and other social groupings.
- business activity impacts on the lives of people in many ways, ranging from the creation of a safe and clean environment, through clean and careful production, to the creation of jobs, and opportunities for all members of the community.
Responsible businesses are responsible citizens. This responsibility is reflected through ethical practice. Ethical practice involves doing the right thing rather than the wrong one - and is based on operating in a 'moral way'.
Corporate social responsibility involves making sure that:
- your goods and services meet customer requirements, and are provided in a fair way.
- your employees are given responsibility and opportunities to work with the organisation in supporting community projects.
- the organisation is involved in relevant sponsorship and 'corporate giving' activities that are relevant and helpful to the community.
- the organisation is involved in activities and programmes that support the development of the whole community.
Many organisations today realise the importance of building a prosperous 'inclusive society'. This involves including members of society by providing them with opportunities and futures rather than marginalising and excluding them. In addition large companies like Cadbury Schweppes and Nestlé have strong corporate social responsibility programmes involving employees working on community projects and the sponsorship of relevant community activities.