What is corporate social responsibility?

The definition of CSR is a complex one. It refers to a business’s impact on society and the environment. It is also a business approach that contributes to sustainable development by delivering economic, social and environmental benefit to all stakeholders.

CSR is a broad concept that applies to various aspects of business that includes:

  • human rights practices
  • commitments to health and safety
  • conducting businesses ethically
  • ensuring equality, fairness, diversity and inclusiveness
  • mitigating negative environmental impacts
  • responsible sourcing
  • stakeholder engagement
  • anti-corruption measures
  • promoting the development of neighbouring communities

CSR also applies to the initiatives a business has in place to measure its impacts on society, the environment and economy and improve its operational practices. This goes beyond what is required by recognised regulators. In short: Are we doing good? If so, how can we do better? If not, how do we improve?

CSR is also often referred to as corporate citizenship. It is important to distinguish between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate social investment (CSI). The latter includes the concepts of grantmaking, philanthropy, charitable giving and donations, as well as social investment.

Due to the vast nature of CSR and several guidelines, standards and frameworks to assist in practice, we now refer to corporate responsibility and sustainability. Various industry sectors, bodies and institutions now require companies to report on their progress to greater sustainability. This is where Next Generation comes in.

Developing a strategic approach to greater responsibility and sustainability takes time. It requires research, engagement and proper implementation. Thereafter, it needs measurement and adjustment. All activities must be reported on in accordance with standards and to account for performance. When it is done correctly, the benefits of being a responsible corporate citizen are countless. In emerging economies, it creates jobs. It improves infrastructure and contributes to the economy. Most importantly, it generates hope. There are many types of businesses. The best kind are those that take responsibility for their impact and understand their obligation to society and the environment. They are involved in creating the change they want to see in the world.

For more information on corporate social responsibility, corporate sustainability and corporate citizenship, contact Next Generation. Together we can make a vital difference.