Are you one of those, who doubt CSR? Do you repeat sentences, such as CSR is not for us, we do not have enough time or money for it, and anyway, it will not help our business?
We put together 4 main doubts regarding CSR and their replies, based on the texts from renowned British sustainability professionals.
1. Are companies guilty of current problems or their solvers? Is the impact of business in result always more negative than positive?
In general, businesses produce great social and economical benefits. They make products and offer services that satisfy our needs. They create employment and pay taxes into public budgets that ensure our basic guarantees, on which we all depend on. We could very well summarize the positive impacts against the negative impacts, but it does not work like this - positive impacts somewhere cannot automatically compensate for negative impacts elsewhere.
From the social and economic point of view businesses offer great benefits. This is not, however, so true environmentally and the overall impact of all these activities – that service our needs – is unsustainable. You cannot fool science by human priorities, in the end it will always take you back to its rules, whether you like it or not.
When we ourselves too willingly consume too many products and services, it is foolish to then blame the companies. The truth is that all of us – apart from a relatively small group of people – are remarkably unwilling to lower our consumption level, which is only in our own power. It is, in fact, businesses that are more ready to innovate and make their production processes and business models more sustainable.
At the moment, the net impact of our society’s behaviour as a whole is negative. Quality businesses have the real potential to solve this problem, but it will not happen by accident. If it did, we would not need CSR or any other initiative calling for a change. That is why companies need people with strong values, who understand the concept of sustainability as a base for corporate financial success in the decades to come.
2. Our business faces existential problems. There’s no time for us to deal with marginal topics, we have to stay focused on the most important issues.
CSR strategy management works the same way as any other aspect of your business management. You can do it well or badly. Take the so popular employee volunteering – if employees are sceptical and negative to how the whole business operates, volunteering will not fulfil its purpose – and this type of CSR is useless and money is wasted.
If you do CSR and find yourself more occupied with side topics rather than the core business strategy, you’re doing it wrong. Well-built CSR is centred on main business priorities, it builds good stakeholder relationships, whose opinions are crucial especially when times are hard, and it helps to detect business risks as well as raise its overall efficiency.
Why do it?
3. Corporations do not care about CSR, their only goal is to profit from the poor and the environment.
Companies are part of our society. Good health of the society is therefore in their best interest. Healthy customers, thriving economy and good state of environment all contribute to a healthy business. Businesses do not operate in isolation and cannot prosper when everything around is in deprivation. So, it is in their interest to support education or life in their surroundings. Smart business knows this will pay up not only by increased trust from their customers, but also by potential talented future employees, who will support sustainable business growth.
Tomáš Baťa, one of the Czech most successful businessmen, also supported his company in and out, he was aware that by increasing people’s living standard, he will increase their purchasing power as well as motivation to do better at work.
It is not the primary goal of businesses to eradicate poverty but the lower the poverty, the more prosperous the company.
4. There is no time for dealing with CSR. We have to hit projected sales.
Have you heard of environmental business management? Companies often look for ways how to save money but totally miss the opportunity of waste reduction. It has been proven that savings made through effective waste reduction can produce substantial impact on overall business costs – in any business. In many cases, however, businesses put their waste management at the end of their list of priorities, just as many other environmental topics.
Hitting targeted sales cannot be the only factor leading to increased profits. History has taught us that increase in sales as the only profit raising strategy usually does not lead to an actual profit boost. It is necessary to seek effective solutions that lead towards a stable and sustainable financial health of the company.
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