Are CSR and corporate citizenship important for my company?
Anyone who runs a company wants to do so responsibly - this is as obvious as it is understandable. After all, everyone who is interested in running a company, wants to do so in a way that ensures a sustainable future. In addition to entrepreneurial activity with the intention of longevity, there is also the voluntary contribution to sustainable development that goes beyond what is legally demanded.
CSR and Corporate Citizenship
This is generally summarized by corporate social responsibility (CSR) and involves integrating corporate responsibility into everyday business practices, environmental aspects, building relationships with employees and networking with other stakeholders. This can be expanded further using corporate citizenship, which allows companies to go beyond general business practices to voluntarily and charitably engage in areas of sponsorship, donations and foundational activities. It therefore involves making a collective contribution to society in general.
Voluntary but necessary
While CSR emphasises that these contributions are voluntary, it is clear that success-orientated businesses should put their concepts into action; those who want to be successful and to propagate a good market image cannot avoid being responsible, working sustainably, maintaining good relationships with their employees or staying in close contact with stakeholders.
In practice, there are many different ways of approaching CSR:
- Fair business practices
- Employee-orientated policy
- Economical use of natural resources
- Environmentally-friendly production
- Work safety
- Energy efficiency
- Minimum requirements for supply chain
- Investment in infrastructure and region in which you operate
Corporate citizenship requires commitment
Corporate citizenship, on the other hand, is a much more voluntary endeavour. Corporate citizenship activities are not so closely related to a company's success but instead tend to go above and beyond normal business practices and therefore fall into the field of philanthropy. But that doesn't necessarily mean that corporate citizenship projects can't also have a positive impact on a company. Initiatives that are well run and appropriately communicated can be hugely advantageous. It is important, however, that such projects are both actively and sustainably supported, otherwise you'll give the impression that you are acting for the wrong reasons and this has a negative impact on your company image. As a result, corporate citizenship should not be seen as mandatory but rather as an affair of the heart.
Corporate citizenship in practice
What do genuine and well-implemented corporate citizenship activities look like? Initiatives that are well recommended are those that serve the socially disadvantaged and those that help to protect animals and the environment. It's not because these are hot topics but because this is where we can make the biggest impact. Living examples of this can be found in the myWorld group, including Cashback World Partner.
For several years now, the group has supported two foundations with diverse ambitions:
- The Child and Family Foundation supports children in need, youths and families by running projects in both the educational and relief aid sectors.
- The Greenfinity Foundation implements projects worldwide in the fields of environmental and climate protection.
Partner as part of corporate citizenship
The fact that these initiatives are really being taken seriously, becomes obvious when looking at the scope by which they are being supported. The myWorld group doesn't just support foundations financially but also provides administrative aid, resources and the required infrastructure. Cashback World Partner and its customers also help; every purchase at a Cashback World Partner helps support the foundations - that way Cashback World Partner customers are also part of corporate citizenship.
Nine corporate citizenship instruments
If you are interested in the idea of corporate citizenship, you have a wide range of options at your disposal that can be broken down into nine instruments based on the Corporate Citizenship Mix.
- Company donations: Money and resource donations such as services, products or logistics.
- Company foundations: building foundations
- Non-profit employee commitment: make the know-how of employees available or incentivise voluntary work.
- Social sponsoring: Sponsoring in social fields
- Specific marketing: Introduce product sales which benefit a social cause or organisation.
- Purchase services from welfare organisations: For example, make use of services provided by companies who employ those who are mentally or physically disabled or socially disadvantaged.
- Community Joint Venture: a collective non-profit enterprise operated by a social organisation and a business that requires both of them to operate.
- Lobbying for social issues: a company uses their contacts and influence to promote welfare issues and organisations.
- Social venture capital: Business venture capitalists that invest money and knowledge in organisations for a specific social cause for a limited period of time.
There are many ways of helping your company to take social responsibility and these can be adapted to suit your business. CSR may help you to create a positive company image, increase employee retention, improve your regional standing and, as a result, increase customer loyalty and trust. To achieve this, however, you need to make a serious effort to implement the measures. If you manage that, both sides will benefit.
https://www.upj.de/unternehmen_detail.83.0.html?&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=884&tx_ttnews[backPid]=34&cHash=8457fd0823 (Dresewski, Felix (2004): Corporate Citizenship. Ein Leitfaden für das soziale Engagement mittelständischer Unternehmen. Berlin: UPJ, S. 21f.)