Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. As part of CSR practice, business takes responsibility for the impact of their activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere. Additionally, business would proactively promote the public interest by encouraging community growth and development, and voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the public sphere, regardless of legality. Essentially, CSR is the deliberate inclusion of public interest into corporate decision-making with a three-pronged approach of honoring 3Ps, i.e. People, Planet, Profit. CSR is no more optional as the whole world has already experienced the serious consequences of not caring for the plants at the cost of industrial and economic growth. The situation would be more precarious if businesses continue operating in the same fashion as done in the past. The CSR is compulsory for all businesses if we want a sustainable and peaceful world.
CSR helps to define the contribution of a company beyond economic value and creating employment, and weighs this contribution against the damage done by the company through its products and processes. It is also a forward-action, i.e. it flows from a company’s vision and mission and is part of the company’s everyday actions, rather than a retrospective action that is undertaken by a company at the end of its process.
While it is difficult to quantify the reasons for companies to take up CSR, it is clear that all companies must be doing this, in order to help society as a whole to improve. When companies take up activities that help improve society, they are perceived as being better companies in other areas as well, such as having better products and services, being a better place to work in, and a better company to invest in. Today, companies that are doing nothing to give back to society from which they have taken so much, are being looked at differently, despite the profits that they make. Further, those companies that have already included CSR as part of their business, will be far ahead of the rest, when CSR expenditure becomes mandatory for all companies, as it soon will.
Corporates are important stakeholders in the society as they have tremendous strengths; capable people, technology, access to money, ability of geographical reach and many more. Talking in this line, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will have to make some changes and implement a plan that coincides with their core business values. Time has come to educate SMEs that CSR works for large and small organizations alike; there is no scope for beating or cheating the system for lasting reputation; they must put in sincere efforts and reporting their results honestly; it is better to formulate simple plans and timely implementation of them; they should not expect a direct financial Return on Investment (ROI) on CSR; don’t treat CSR as a separate company initiative; CSR is not a marketing gimmick; and to be proactive than to be reactive. CSR may not give immediate financial outcome for your business, but it will create a goodwill for your company in the market and enhance your company’s reputation for taking small CSR initiatives in a true spirit.
ISSME is of the conviction that SMEs can create their niche in the market with sincere CSR practices while doing business. With such intentions, ISSME conduct specific events on responsible business practices that have a value proposition for SMEs in long run. We have been consciously doing various activities to imbibe in SMEs the responsible and ethical business practices. We also disseminate useful insights and globally emerging best practices & success stories that help improving the state of SMEs continuously.