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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Jonathan Haney headhsot
Jonathan Haney

Senior Director, Marketplaces

Organizations around the world are prioritizing socially responsible practices as a means of enhancing their community and earning positive recognition. Discover how improving your social and environmental performance benefits companies and business operations in numerous ways and explore ways to employ socially responsible processes. 

What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a business model that holds companies accountable to themselves, stakeholders, and the public, including local communities, by conscientiously employing practices and processes that benefit society.

Many socially responsible companies engage in beneficial practices that have both a social and environmental impact. 

Social Responsibility in Practice

A prime example of social responsibility in practice might be Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives focusing on environmental responsibility, such as xeriscaping and a robust energy management policy. Such an initiative might also include ethical labor practices, community engagement, and responsible material sourcing.

Corporate Social Responsibility Objectives

While the ultimate goals of a socially responsible company are to have a positive impact in the community and enhance its public image through corporate sustainability and social responsible practices can be broken down into three objectives to help meet these goals. Companies may employ some or all of these objectives in their CSR plan.

Social Accountability

Companies acknowledge their responsibility for the impacts of their activities on the environment in the company’s values. Socially responsible organizations take ownership of their role in ensuring their practices benefit all impacted parties to the best of their ability.

Ethical Business Practices

Corporate social responsibility involves conducting business with transparency and integrity. Companies known for ethical behavior tend to pay employees a living wage, offer sufficient time off and sick leave, and provide other benefits that impact their workers in a positive way. 

Environmental Stewardship

Many organizations employ CSR initiatives to acknowledge their ethical responsibility to the environment, and enact a corporate stewardship policy. Companies commit themselves to engaging in sustainable practices to reduce their carbon footprint and to contribute to conservation efforts.

What CSR Initiatives Say About a Company

By engaging in social responsibility, organizations send a message to the surrounding community, other businesses, and the world.

Community Impact

CSR programs tell the world that an organization is committed to positively contributing to the community — in turn, improving society as a whole. Charity drives, water conservation programs, and community improvement initiatives are some of the CSR strategies a company can employ.

Sustained Value 

CSR commitments emphasize creating long-term value for anyone with a stake in the company. Other like-minded organizations are more likely to do business with such a company, and socially responsible companies are more likely to retain socially conscious customers, helping to maintain brand value. Sustained value helps to ensure company longevity and stakeholder trust.

Voluntary Commitment

Through CSR efforts, companies take business practices a step beyond complying with regulatory requirements. They show everyone that the company is committed to improving the quality of life for employees, stakeholders, and the community. By taking the initiative to do what’s right, organizations form a bond of public trust more valuable than any quarterly earnings report could quantify.

CSR Practices in Facility Management Services

Many socially responsible organizations encourage everyone in the company to play their part in the CSR efforts. Companies that embrace CSR often implement socially sound practices throughout the organization. Facility managers often oversee a number of initiatives tied to a company’s social responsibility plan, including duties such as these:

Sustainable Operations

It often falls on facility managers to research and implement energy-efficient operational methods. Duties such as preventive maintenance and routine inspections take environmental factors into account to minimize the company’s environmental impact.

Green Building

Companies often adopt green building standards and promote sustainable development practices. By using methods such as utilizing recycled materials and installing rain catchers on the property to optimize water usage, companies can have a positive impact on the surrounding environment.

Ethical Sourcing

Ethical sourcing means ensuring that everyone involved in the process of creating and supplying materials and services are treated fairly. Facility managers are often tasked with the duty of seeking out sustainable materials and suppliers that adhere to ethical practices. 

Employee Wellbeing 

It’s the duty of all business leadership, including facility management, to help ensure the health and safety of employees. Responsible companies also adhere to fair labor practices and often provide professional development opportunities that encourage growth and expand employees’ capabilities.

Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

When organizations and business leaders practice social responsibility, everyone benefits. From community residents to company executives, each enjoys distinct advantages as a result of sustainable and ethical business practices. Some benefits include:

Brand Reputation

Today’s business leaders know: a company achieves more when they’ve earned the trust of clients and stakeholders. Social responsibility builds a positive image and increases public trust, making it easier to attract customers, investors and talent. 

Community Engagement

When a company prioritizes its community, local residents begin to see the organization as a part of their local culture. Implementing community development projects and addressing environmental concerns helps to embed an organization into the local landscape as a beloved fixture within a community. 

Employee Engagement

CSR initiatives often attract talent that shares the company’s values for ethical and sustainable practices. Ethical labor policies that prioritize employee wellbeing helps to maintain morale and improve employee retention.

Operational Savings

Social responsibility offers some practical tangible benefits as well. Environmental responsibility often leads to greater operational efficiency. Companies often enjoy cost savings as a result of managed energy and resource usage.

Risk Management

Another practical benefit of corporate social responsibility is the potential to reduce physical, financial, and legal risk. By proactively addressing social, environmental, and regulatory issues, companies can mitigate potential risks.

Implementing CSR Initiatives

Enacting CSR practices is a team effort that starts at the top. These tips can help your organization integrate CSR principles into your culture and get you on your way to fostering an attitude of corporate social responsibility.

  • Construct a CSR Strategy: Develop clear CSR strategies that align with the company’s business objectives and stakeholder expectations.
  • Encourage Stakeholder Involvement: Communicate CSR priorities and benefits with investors and employees, and address any concerns to get everyone on the same page.
  • Set Objectives: Determine your organization’s CSR goals, such as reducing waste, enhancing community wellbeing, or promoting diversity and inclusion.
  • Develop Programs and Initiatives: Initiate programs that work toward achieving CSR goals. Communicate with local vendors and stakeholders for input and resources.
  • Communicate Progress: Remain transparent throughout every step of your CSR implementation and beyond. Communicate efforts, setbacks, and achievements through sustainability reports, newsletters, and social media.
  • Continue to Improve: Regularly review CSR initiative progress and seek out new ways to enhance their effectiveness and positive impact.

Social responsibility is a key aspect of modern business operations, and it continues to grow in popularity as communities around the world see the benefits and environmental impact that ethical and sustainable efforts provide. In Facilities Management, CSR initiatives can lead to improved operational efficiencies, a stronger brand, and a better relationship with the community and other stakeholders.

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