18 Jan The link between CSR and transparency
When it comes to successful and sustainable businesses, CSR and transparency go hand in hand.
What is CSR? This concept has to with the idea that corporations should operate under social and moral guidelines beyond what is required by law. This would mean that, for example, a corporation might take steps to be “green” or to create a work environment which encourages charity or team building amongst employees. These are things that are certainly not required, but which may benefit the corporation, as well as the culture surrounding it.
However, transparency is essential in regard to CSR and the reports that companies release. It is a great a PR move to be as socially responsible as possible and businesses would be missing out not to advertise their CSR. The issue is that sometimes businesses exaggerate, or keep hidden, their actual business practices. This can create a distrust of the business and a public perception that is less than positive. People will stop buying from the company and employees may even quit. Being as honest and forthright in regard to CSR as possible is essential.
Let’s discuss a simple example: There are some people who feel that businesses should only do that which is required of them by law, and that doing anything more will result in profit loss. BUT, as we touched on above, a more positive public image, happier employees and a more sustainable business approach, may all be a result of a business taking social responsibility.
In regard to the environment, in particular, there are many who feel that corporations and smaller businesses owe it to the rest of the world to try and be as socially responsible as possible. If it cuts into a business’ bottom line, for example, to use recycled paper then it is still that business’ responsibility to do so in order to be environmentally and socially conscious. Again, this may cut into the company’s bottom line BUT, in the long run, will benefit the business. Therefore, it may actually increase productivity, customer loyalty and more. However, if the business misrepresents how much recycled paper they are using and this information comes out then the company, depending on its size and other factors, may end up taking huge losses or even shutting down.