Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not a new term for society and the business world. It has evolved as one of the greatest theories of corporate self regulation that has been put into practice by almost all major corporations in the world. CSR is also famous by many other names, like corporate conscience or sustainable responsible business.
The fundamentals of CSR are based on the fact that every firm has a responsibility of giving back to society a significant portion of its time and resources, so that holistic growth is attained by handling social issues and environmental issues in a creative way. To understand it in a better way, consider one of the best CSR examples related to The Bill and Melinda's Gates Foundation, founded by the iconic Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft. One of the biggest philanthropic organizations in the world, this foundation has been working to improve global poverty and global health issues in most developing countries.
Eradicating global poverty, improving health conditions in poor countries, and providing education to children are just some aspects of CSR. Another aspect of CSR has been nature conservation that encourages firms towards energy saving and ensuring that growth is not attained at the cost of environmental degradation. It needn't be stated here that Mother Earth is dying, resources are depleting faster and the menace is near in the future. Be it international conferences like Earth Summit on global warming, or the summits of World Economic Forum (held recently in Dubai, in December 2010), everywhere scientists, scholars, and environmentalists are requesting business leaders, policy makers, and decision makers to make long-term goals keeping in mind the ethics, laws, and holistic health of this planet. Reducing carbon footprints is one of the most vital aspects of keeping a check on industrial growth.
Let me explain by talking about an interesting CSR initiative. Intel is not a new name to us. It stands amongst the top most brands and quality service when it comes to products. Intel, being one of the leading technology companies, has been working religiously to promote sustainable development and growth. With its CSR tagline, taking care of the world in which we innovate, Intel has been committed to bring about a difference in environmental pollution. As its official CSR website states;
We believe technology will be key to addressing the world's environmental challenges. As one of the world's leading technology companies, we are passionate about the intelligent use of technology. We design and build eco-friendly products that consume less energy per transistor, take less water to build, and use lesser materials, like lead and halogens, than ever before. And, we know our responsibility goes far beyond delivering eco-friendly products.
Similarly, consider another tech giant, Apple Computers. For their CSR venture, Apple's official website says,
"Apple is committed to ensuring the highest standards of social responsibility wherever our products are made. We insist that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes. Apple's program is based on our comprehensive Supplier Code of Conduct, which outlines our expectations for the companies we do business with. We evaluate compliance through a rigorous auditing program and work proactively with our suppliers to drive change."
On similar lines, iconic IBM has its CSR mission as, "The IBM corporate citizenship: Helping to build a smarter planet" program, that works towards community development. To quote the official website,
"The primary focus of our corporate citizenship activities is on developing initiatives to address specific societal issues, such as the environment, community economic development, education, health, literacy, language and culture. We employ IBM's most valuable resources, our technology and talent, in order to create innovative programs in these areas to assist communities around the world. For example, our Corporate Service Corps program annually deploys teams of selected high potential employees to emerging regions to work with government, nonprofit and non-governmental organizations on critical local projects. Teams have completed projects in Ghana, Romania, Tanzania, the Philippines and Vietnam around water quality, disaster preparedness and project management."
Almost every company, be it small-scale, large-scale or spread globally, must work towards incorporating sustainable living ideas and Go Green practices in their policies. Only then, the true meaning of CSR will be successful.