Corporate social responsibility: making good business sense
President, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
Demands on companies from stakeholders are mounting to disclose and engage in a wider and deeper range of issues related to their activities, products and services. Calls for enforced corporate accountability also emerged from the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.
Clearly, business needs to grapple with a growing public policy agenda and work with all parts of society to define and maintain its license to operate. Part of this involves corporate social responsibility or CSR for short.
CSR is always being redefined and its meaning is still evolving. The core concept of corporate social responsibility, however, is based on a set of principles that serve to guide action, even in very disparate business contexts. Companies are helping to steer social responsibility every day through their own actions and by the way they relate to their social, economic, and ecological environment.
In the past, corporate social responsibility was often seen as an elaborate form of philanthropy, but now it is much more than that. In today's business context, acting as a responsible corporate citizen means contributing to the well-being of society.
Sustainable development reporting, engaging in dialogue with key stakeholders, and forming partnerships with local NGOs and governments to meet goals, are just a few ways of demonstrating a responsible approach to business.
Yet, fully integrating the CSR concept into business strategy is difficult and hard work. But the benefits of taking on this challenge are significant. The leaders in this field have already found a business case for CSR, including increased brand value and recognition, improvements in human capital, and revenue generation. In short, these companies are shaping the way to do business in the 21st century and reaping the rewards.
The WBCSD supports measures that add to the understanding of corporate social responsibility and we are very pleased that Entico has chosen to add to the literature in this vital field.