Corporate Social Responsability (CSR)

Strategy for Change

Background

Quality CSR support & collaboration: Today’s consumer expects transparency and ethical soundness from businesses. Within this climate of accountability, companies must adopt corporate social responsibility planning and marketing. According to the International Organization Standardization (ISO), a general guideline certification system Social Responsibility is “the willingness of an organization to integrate social and environmental considerations in its decision making and be accountable for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment.” CSR strategies shall lead to sound business practices, sound company cultures, and loyal customers. Beyond just good press and feel-good leadership, which are important, CSR gives companies a way of approaching operational problems and meeting benchmarks in sustainable, ethical ways.

For CRS to drive value: Pursuing societal activities that do not relate to a company’s purpose, is meaningless. The give-a-little-to-many model is tired and does not support meaningful external community partnerships nor does it help a company to truly reflect its values internally. While donating money to causes and marketing these endeavours are good ways of testing the CSR water, they are not substitutes for actual CSR, which should be part of revenue and supportive of business growth. We propose that for CSR to drive value, companies need to adopt a long term and formal plan that engages leadership, employees, customers, and communities of operation. CSR goes deeper than mere face-value and surface-scratching and works towards genuinely improving an entire company inside and out. A quality CSR process begins with an in-depth assessment that looks at all activities from decision making, governance, operations, policies and processes and then assesses existing external activities (donations, volunteering, partnerships) to determine where the company could better align its mission with its practices. From there offers solutions with impact when the business develops custom strategies that are sustainable parts of the business model and which help all activities meet a standard of ethics and promote a feel-good, do-good company culture.

Context

Company empowerment: A company looking to improve itself today should address its CSR. In order to win over and retain today’s consumer, a company depends on CSR. In order to attract and retain calibre employees, a company needs a quality CSR. In order to have protection in today’s whistle-blower PR climate, a company needs CSR. Companies that don’t weave society or sustainability into their organisational fabrics are going to get left behind. CSR is no longer just for multinationals, but all companies need to make this a priority, because consumers and employees will not align with brands that do not meet today’s more rigorous standards of ethics. Further,  leaders usually WANT to use their companies and leadership for good. It’s not just today’s consumer that comes with a changed mind-set, it’s today’s CEO. If a company wants credibility, it is no longer enough to just be successful, that success must be backed by meaning and public benefit as well as profit.  From a strategic point of view, there are many justifications that incorporating CSR into a company´s business model can have a positive impact on the company success. A CSR initiative could change almost every element or area of the business model, whether it’s adjusting key activities to incorporate CSR activites, utilising employees as key CSR resources, or even adding additional customer segments as a result of elevated brand recognition. There are many ways to show this adjustment to the compny´s business model – using the business model canvas. And, it’s essential to weave the ideals of CSR into the company’s fabric.

Ambition

Incorporating CSR into a company´s business model such as

  1. Adjusting key activities to incorporate CSR activites.
  2. Utilising employees as key CSR resources.
  3. Adding additional customer segments as a result of elevated brand recognition.

Using the business model canvas. Weave the ideals of CSR into the company’s fabric.

Support

  1. Integrate social and environmental considerations in its decision making and be accountable for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment.
  2. Sound business practices, sound company cultures, and loyal customers.
  3. Good press and feel-good leadership.
  4. Approaching operational problems and meeting benchmarks in sustainable, ethical ways.

Drive value

  1. CSR to be part of revenue and supportive of business growth.
  2. Adopt a long term and formal plan that engages leadership, employees, customers, and communities of operation. CSR goes deeper than mere face-value and surface-scratching and works towards genuinely improving an entire company inside and out. A quality CSR process begins with an in-depth assessment that looks at all activities from decision making, governance, operations, policies and processes and then assesses existing external activities (donations, volunteering, partnerships) to determine where the company could better align its mission with its practices. From there offers solutions with impact when the business develops custom strategies that are sustainable parts of the business model and which help all activities meet a standard of ethics and promote a feel-good, do-good company culture.

Outcome Challenges

Corporate responsibility is both an imperative and a challenge for every organisation, and collaborative practices are an essential improvement tool for all partners. Our commitments to SCR are a solid advantage for our clients and partners, who can rely on our experience to help them achieve their own sustainability goals.

Identifying the Main Challenges

Main challenges can be identified with the support of Business for Social Responsibility. It shall be conducted in response to large-scale social, societal and environmental problems, as well as changes in the market and stakeholder expectations. The results allowed us to optimize implementation of initiatives and manage the risks associated with the findings of the analysis.

Commitments and Goals

Today, choosing responsible growth means pursuing and continuing to make the best possible choices, as well as focusing on safety, health, and respect for the environment. We need to improve the way we take care of our employees, and services we provide, and our actions as a corporate citizen. Some of these concern our business directly, while on others we can have an indirect impact. Strategies follows the guidelines of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs were launched in 2015. They set worldwide goals in 17 key areas that governments, corporations and society must take into account in order to make the world a more equitable, fair and sustainable place by 2030. All of our initiatives are aligned with these goals.

Activity 1

  1. Research companies with CRS and see whether they can benefit from HR&S practical strategies, HR&S resources and / or HR&S partner’s on-going social enterprises.
  2. Reach out to key stakeholders with meetings and seminars about HR&S ToolKit, while doing a customer survey.
    Identify contact person and buyer persona to know how to get in contact.
  3. Offer a solution to a stakeholder with overlapping mind-set.

Activity 2 – Visit.org

 Upload HR&S on the Visit.org website as an opportunity to reach individuals with agency for change within the private sector.

Milestones

Cecilia reaches out to CSR companies and seeks opportunities to link PP partners with CSR programmes.

Output

Coffee: We target HR&S partner Moses MURUNGI’s on-going Kumi Uganda coffee.  Needs investment loan to scale. Offer to back up with SfC training to facilitate coffee grower’s own evaluation planning. Bring also other coffe growers. International Coffee Partners (ICP) who already have activities in Uganda. Löfbergs who has activities in Kenya.

visit.org

Progress markers

xxx

Risk

xxx

Outcome

Visit.org / PayPal
event in Nov 2021. PayPal Staff met with HR&S Branches on a PayPal CSR day. The PayPal staff were supposed to give advice. The topic was “Help Entrepreneurs Overcome Challenges in Growing Their Business”.

Lessons learned & informed decision

Visit.org / PayPal event:
Lesson: Cecilia presented the HR&S and expected the PayPal advisers to give advise based on their own expertise, through a knowledge sharing brain-storming session. Instead they spoke in general which did not make a lot of sense. They were not able to link the HR&S challenges with their own knowledge. When the CEO tried to focus the discussion they were not able to reply to direct questions on which type of services that PayPal offer in Africa or the type of PayPal payment/money transfer solutions that HR&S can benefit from. Actually no advice at all was given.
It is a very good cross-cultural experience. We are facing cross-cultural challenges and that hinders efficiency.
Informed decision: The opportunity has potential, HR&S meets with the private sector that has CSR programmes and may identify individuals with agency for change, why we will try to scale the programme. Cecilia will adapt her introduction and link it to the capacity of the company and identify around three specific questions or proposals. Next time we have such an opportunity we present a potential solution and they guide on how feasible it is and implementation. For example Aghama had talked about using virtual cards so we ask them to focus on that.

The HR&S offer

HR&S offers to implement CSR in the form of:

  • Webinars & seminars
    As a means of knowledge sharing on the HR&S areas of expertise.
  • HR&S Programme involvement
    A company may choose to become involved with one or more of the HR&S social enterprising & development programmes.
  • RISE Centre empowerment
    A company may choose to become involved with the empowerment of one or more of the RISE.

Webinars & Seminars

We offer 2 h webinars and seminars addressing the below. The price is EUR 1,000.

Cross-cultural knowledge sharing & brainstorming

A brainstorming between our Sub-Sahara African partners and the staff of the company requesting the CSR activity, around the solution to a challenge identified by our Sub-Sahara Africa partners that is related to the skills and experiences of the company requesting the CSR. This will simultaneously be a cross-cultural awareness-raising session addressing cross-cultural understanding & respect. The event will in addition include a short presentation of the HR&S method for poverty reduction in general and extreme poverty eradication as well as the claimed shift of paradigm, the transition from aid dependency to equal partnership scientific research & social enterprising.

HR&S does not engagege in CSR volunteering

To take on volunteers demands a lot of effort from HR&S.

To do CSR work with volunteers, is in actual practice a cost, as it will be very difficult for these volunteers to deliver in a way that is actually useful for for HR&S. Mostly because they are remote and/or only stay a short period of time.

Besides, this type of CSR does not generate anything sustainable for the company.

Strategic partners

We offer on-line knowledge sharing sessions between our partners in SSA and staff members of companies with Corporate Social Responsability (CSR) programmes. The topic is usually the empowerment of businesses.

We also offer companies with CSR programmes to be involved with our other programmes.

Visit.org

Delivering purpose for a more engaged workforce.
Annika Anderson, Account Manager, +1(347)673-9117, 7 World Trade Center, New York, NY 10007.

On-line knowledge sharing sessions

https://visit.org/experience/help-entrepreneurs-overcome-challenges-in-growing-their-business_ceb8

Help entrepreneurs in Sub-Sahara African countries to overcome challenges in growing their businesses.

Discover how the Human Rights & Science HR&S initiatives have made a difference in their communities while supporting sustainable social enterprises.
1.5 hours, on-line, 10 to ∞ participants, in English

What you will do as a CSR programme

This webinar will focus on cross-cultural learning and will present HR&S’ social enterprising empowerment programmes in Sub-Sahara Africa. 
After the presentations, we will have a knowledge sharing session between the experts of the host company and the country experts of HR&S and brainstorm together on possible solutions to the challenges faced by HR&S, the HR&S country branches and partner social entrepreneurs. 

Agenda:

  • Welcoming by HR&S  and Participant Presentations (10 minutes)
  • Agenda and proposed the scope for the brain-storming session in order to ensure an efficient event and secure deliveries. (10 minutes)
    Finding overlaps between the expertise of HR&S and the expertise of the host CSR company.
  • Presentation of HR&S and our social enterprising empowerment programmes in Sub-Sahara Africa  (30 minutes)
  • Brainstorming Session (30 minutes)
  • Conclusion, recommendations and proposed follow-ups (10 minutes)

What else you should know

  • This experience will be conducted over Zoom.
  • HR&S will bring representatives from more than five Sub-Sahara African countries and from its head-quaters in Stockholm.

How you will make an impact as a CSR programme

By sharing from your expertise that has links to the HR&S programme, and possibly offer products and services after the webinar, you may empower the support packages that HR&S offers to local social entrepreneurs in Sub-Sahara African countries.

About HR&S

The HR&S social enterprise operates in Sub-Saharan Africa and reduces extreme poverty in under-served communities through social enterprising. It also empowers research, innovation, business and sustainable development through training, coaching, networking, and business loans.

We offer opportunities to do good by empowering social entrepreneurs in Sub-Sahara African countries.

Help entrepreneurs in Sub-Sahara African countries to overcome challenges in growing their businesses.

Discover how the Human Rights & Science HR&S initiatives have made a difference in their communities while supporting sustainable social enterprises.
1.5 hours, on-line, 10 to ∞ participants, in English

What you will do as staff of a company with  CSR programme

HR&S offers opportunities to contribute to social good by taking part in the on-going programmes that we are running is Sub-Sahara African countries. We are empowering 20 social entrepreneurs in eight countries, and based on the core mission of your company we may be able to identify win-win-win overlaps. We are seeking a long-term collaboration that benefits your company and empowers your staff, customers and partners. This webinar will focus on cross-cultural learning and will present HR&S’ social enterprising empowerment programmes in Sub-Sahara Africa.  After the presentations, we will have a knowledge sharing session between the experts of your company and the country experts of HR&S and brainstorm together on possible solutions to the challenges faced by HR&S, the HR&S country branches and partner social entrepreneurs, based on the expertise of your company. We expect the session to be a starting-point for a continued collaboration and that we will agree on follow-up activities.

Agenda:

  • Welcoming by HR&S  and Participant Presentations (10 minutes)
  • Agenda and proposed the scope for the brain-storming session in order to ensure an efficient event and secure deliveries. (10 minutes)
    Finding overlaps between the expertise of HR&S and the expertise of the host CSR company.
  • Presentation of HR&S and our social enterprising empowerment programmes in Sub-Sahara Africa  (30 minutes)
  • Brainstorming Session (30 minutes)
  • Conclusion, recommendations and proposed follow-ups (10 minutes)

What else you should know

  • This experience will be conducted over Zoom.
  • HR&S will bring representatives from more than five Sub-Sahara African countries and from its head-quarters in Stockholm.

How you will make an impact as a CSR programme

By sharing from your expertise, products and services that has links to the HR&S programme, your long-term involvement is expected to empower the support packages that HR&S offers to local social entrepreneurs in Sub-Sahara African countries.

About HR&S

The HR&S social enterprise operates in Sub-Saharan Africa and reduces extreme poverty in under-served communities through social enterprising. It also empowers research, innovation, business and sustainable development through training, coaching, networking, and business loans.

CSR

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a type of international private business self-regulation that aims to contribute to societal goals of a philanthropic, activist, or charitable nature by engaging in or supporting volunteering or ethically-oriented practices.While once it was possible to describe CSR as an internal organisational policy or a corporate ethic strategy, that time has passed as various international laws have been developed and various organisations have used their authority to push it beyond individual or even industry-wide initiatives. While it has been considered a form of corporate self-regulation for some time, over the last decade or so it has moved considerably from voluntary decisions at the level of individual organisations to mandatory schemes at regional, national, and international levels.

Considered at the organisational level, CSR is generally understood as a strategic initiative that contributes to a brand’s reputation. As such, social responsibility initiatives must coherently align with and be integrated into a business model to be successful. With some models, a firm’s implementation of CSR goes beyond compliance with regulatory requirements and engages in “actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm and that which is required by law”.

Furthermore, businesses may engage in CSR for strategic or ethical purposes. From a strategic perspective, CSR can contribute to firm profits, particularly if brands voluntarily self-report both the positive and negative outcomes of their endeavors. In part, these benefits accrue by increasing positive public relations and high ethical standards to reduce business and legal risk by taking responsibility for corporate actions. CSR strategies encourage the company to make a positive impact on the environment and stakeholders including consumers, employees, investors, communities, and others. From an ethical perspective, some businesses will adopt CSR policies and practices because of ethical beliefs of senior management. For example, a CEO may believe that harming the environment is ethically objectionable.

Proponents argue that corporations increase long-term profits by operating with a CSR perspective, while critics argue that CSR distracts from businesses’ economic role. A 2000 study compared existing econometric studies of the relationship between social and financial performance, concluding that the contradictory results of previous studies reporting positive, negative, and neutral financial impact, were due to flawed empirical analysis and claimed when the study is properly specified, CSR has a neutral impact on financial outcomes. Critics questioned the “lofty” and sometimes “unrealistic expectations” in CSR, or that CSR is merely window-dressing, or an attempt to pre-empt the role of governments as a watchdog over powerful multinational corporations. In line with this critical perspective, political and sociological institutionalists became interested in CSR in the context of theories of globalization, neoliberalism and late capitalism. Some institutionalists viewed CSR as a form of capitalist legitimacy and in particular point out that what began as a social movement against uninhibited corporate power was transformed by corporations into a “business model” and a “risk management” device, often with questionable results.

 

ISO 26000

CSR is titled to aid an organization’s mission as well as serve as a guide to what the company represents for its consumers. Business ethics is the part of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business environment. ISO 26000 is the recognized international standard for CSR. Public sector organizations (the United Nations for example) adhere to the triple bottom line (TBL). It is widely accepted that CSR adheres to similar principles, but with no formal act of legislation.

ISO 26000:2010 Guidance on social responsibility is an international standard providing guidelines for social responsibility (SR, often CSR – corporate social responsibility). It was released by the International Organization for Standardization on 1 November 2010 and its goal is to contribute to global sustainable development by encouraging business and other organizations to practice social responsibility to improve their impacts on their workers, their natural environments and their communities.