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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an aspect of business ethics that has assumed significant importance in the age of globalization and expanding markets. The morally-influenced attitudes of consumers in markets have forced many multinational corporations to redefine their definition of social values and rules of their business. There is an increasing realization that corporations are created by the society and that they must give back by serving the society and not merely by making profit from it.
New age corporate leaders are replacing the business philosophy of 'maximization of profits' with 'optimization of profits' by shifting their business focus from 'accountability to shareholders' to 'accountability to stakeholders' (including employees, customers, communities, etc.). The growing focus on Corporate Social Responsibility mandates that these stakeholders have a right to expect accountability and transparency as well as social and environmental investment from corporations
Ignoring Corporate Social Responsibility would mean endangering business success in the global marketplace. It is unlikely that a company can be ethical while not manifesting a high degree of social and environmental responsibility. Corporate Social Responsibility and responsibility to the environment are themselves large and important issues for any company today.
Corporate Social Responsibility and Shared Value
Corporate Social responsibility as a concept and a part of the business model started evolving from 1960s and in the Indian context companies like TCS have been using their core competency to the benefit of communities. But as more and more businesses start paying lip service to CSR a need for a new model which would broaden their view was much needed.
In an article by Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer in the Harvard Business Review titled "The Big Idea: Creating Shared Value", the authors comment on how companies are widely being perceived to be prospering at the expense of the broader community. They go on to say the more business has begun to embrace corporate responsibility, the more it has been blamed for society's failures. Business is caught in a vicious circle. Companies no longer have a broader view when it comes to value creation as they are focused more on short term profit gains. They have started ignoring the aspects which make them sustainable in the long term. Important issues like customer well being, conservation of natural resources and community well being are being overlooked which is leading to a negative perception in the minds of people. According to the authors of the article
"The solution to this problem lies in the principle of shared value, which involves creating economic value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges. Businesses must reconnect company success with social progress. Shared value is not social responsibility, philanthropy, or even sustainability, but a new way to achieve economic success. It is not on the margin of what companies do but at the center. We believe that it can give rise to the next major transformation of business thinking"
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY - NATIONAL COMPANIES
ITC is well known for its CSR initiatives in India. Its e-Choupal program which was conceived by its agri-business division has helped farmers to come out of the vicious cycle of debt and risk and low productivity. It was launched in June 2000 and some of the achievements of this program are:
Reach out to over 4 million farmers in over 40,000 villages across 10 states through 6500 kiosks.
Choupal Pradarshan khet - an initiative which provides Agri-extension services which provide the knowledge of the best agricultural practices to small and marginal farmers. This initiative covers over 70,000 hectares and 1.6 million farmers
Watershed development schemes which cover 56,951 hectares which are brought under soil and moisture conservation.
Primary education services to 252,329 children through 2,334 Supplementary Learning Centres.
Their social and farm forestry efforts have brought 19,100 hectares of wasteland under social forestry helping more than 20,000 households across 525 villages.
ITC also indirectly followed the shared value business as they linked their paperboards business's wood fibre needs to the farmer's need for income from their produce of the same.
ITC claims it is taking conscious steps towards moving away from their Cigarette business and earning more revenues from their other business as many people were skeptical about ITC's CSR activities as they produce cigarettes and that is a major source of their revenues.
Infosys Technologies Limited
Infosys employees actively participate in the welfare of the local community. Their Development Centers in India make a difference through several Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Their employees organize and contribute to welfare programs, especially for underprivileged children. Infosys has pledged to make a difference to society by actively participating in community development. Their 'social contract' inspires more than 100,000 employees to contribute to community welfare, environment sustainability and digital literacy.
In 2009-10, Infosys organized several programs, enabling employees to give back to society:
Volunteering:- A sabbatical policy encourages Infoscions to work for designated Indian Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) on community projects. Employees are paid an allowance by the company for up to a year. Infoscions actively support the mid-day meal program of the Akshaya Patra Foundation. It is the world's largest NGO school meal program blending nutrition with education for more than one million children in rural areas across seven states in India, daily.
Emergency aid:- In 2009, floods in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka caused widespread destruction of life and property. The "Infosys Foundation" and Infoscions donated 30 crore towards rehabilitation and reconstruction of homes. In 2010, Infosys Australia organized a fund-raiser to support Red Cross' disaster relief efforts in the wake of earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. Infosys USA worked with Red Cross to provide Haitians with food and medical care.
Digital empowerment:- Infosys initiates children into Information Technology at a young age through the SPARK program. In 2009-10, Infoscions touched the lives of more than 70,000 students across India by undertaking IT training and mentoring teachers of government-aided schools in rural areas.
Shaping policies:- Members of the board of directors of Infosys serve on global councils and contribute to policy making in corporate governance, education, healthcare, diversity, and the environment. Infosys is partnering with state utilities in India to introduce 'voluntary green tariff', enabling consumers to offset the cost of renewable energy. Infosys hosted the Climate Roadmap Sub-National Workshop at Mysore, a platform to share best practices in environment sustainability.
Promoting education and research:- Infosys is working with more than 400 engineering colleges in India to enhance their curriculum and enrich the talent pool through the Campus Connect program. The Infosys Science Foundation promotes research in pure and applied sciences with an annual prize of 50 lakh for Indian researchers.
Tata Consultancy Services
TCS has always recognized the responsibility Corporates should have towards the wider communities they operate in. Be it girl child education in South Asia in collaboration with UNICEF or adult literacy programs in South India, TCS believes in using IT as an instrument for social development and change. Other TCS' community initiatives have been in areas addressing environmental and civic problems; setting up and maintaining infrastructure for urban beautification, pollution reduction and healthcare; waste management in the office environment, tree plantation and water treatment.
Environment policy:- TCS provides a healthy work environment to all its employees, and conducts environment friendly business at all its offices. To achieve these goals, TCS has published this Environment Policy. In line with its continuous improvement process initiative, TCS will continuously enhance its environment policy, which encompasses air, water, natural resources, people and their interrelation.
Employees:- TCS makes all its employees aware on how work practices affect the environment. For example, wasteful use of electricity or paper at work place depletes natural resources and adds to pollution caused by the generating/manufacturing units. Similarly safe work practices protect the environment by mitigating health risks and accidents. As members of the TATA family, and responsible citizens of the country, TCS employees should observe environment- friendly behaviour, both in and outside the work place.
Management:- TCS management defines health, safety and environment goals and objectives, identifies roles and responsibilities for policy implementation, measures performance, and allocates necessary resources. It integrates resource planning with health, safety and environment concerns. Two-way communication is established with employees, clients and vendors to promote and share health, safety and environment initiatives. The Management will also initiate ISO 14001 certification for different locations in a phased manner.
Work Place:- TCS managers review the work environment and suggest improvements in line with this policy. The policy initiates energy conservation, waste recycling, and paper reduction, in priority areas. The measures and initiatives emerging as a result of this policy get documented as processes. These processes ensure compliance with applicable health, safety, and environment regulations in all offices of TCS.
Apart from being India's leading IT service company, Wipro has made a mark through their CSR activities. Making education a mission At Wipro, the commitment to education is driven by a mission to impart knowledge that helps the young develop holistic skills to address social, economic and environmental issues. Wipro perceives education as a fundamental enabler of sustainable social change.
In this context, Wipro has undertaken educational initiatives that cover school reform and the curriculum. These include:
Wipro Applying Thought in Schools
Focused, long-term initiative in school reform
Initiative based on the thought that every child must be given the opportunity to realize his/her potential
Worked with over 10,500 educators in 1500 schools across 17 states in India
Partnered over 30 social organizations in this endeavor
A platform for the rapidly growing academic community of educators, learners and innovators
Helps them impart education that enhances the employability skills of fresh engineering graduates in India
Reached the first milestone and has empowered more than 10,000 faculty members across 20 states
Azim Premji Foundation
This is a not-for-profit organization with a vision to contribute to systemic changes in Indian education that facilitates a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society. Operational since 2001, the Foundation has engaged with over 2.5 million children in 20,000 schools across 13 States through a committed workforce of over 250 professionals and hundreds of paid volunteers.
Wipro's commitment to the ecology around is as strong as their every endeavour. Their believe is that the future lies in sustainable solutions that will never interfere with our environment, an integral part of our social initiatives. With the formation of Eco Eye, Wipro is now a business that incorporates better ecological balance in every project we execute.
Dabur defines CSR as conducting business in ways that provide social, environmental & economic benefits for the communities and geographies where it operates. The greatest value is in making a difference in lives of people. Dabur's CSR initiatives are driven by Sustainable Development Society or SUNDESH, which aims to reach out to the weaker and more vulnerable sections of society. SUNDESH operates in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand addressing children's literacy, improving healthcare services, skill development, and environment
Healthcare: Providing diagnostic facilities like urine and pregnancy test, haemoglobin, blood sugar and Doppler test to the poor rural populace at nominal rates. Reducing infant and maternal mortality rates by promoting and motivating expecting mothers to go in for institutional deliveries. Holding eye care camps at its Health Post and in villages. Organizing workshops on prevention of female foeticide and sensitization to make the community aware about the importance of girl child and improve the girl-boy ratio in the region. An awareness drive on HIV/AIDS was undertaken with CARE India Trust and UP State AIDS Control Society to reduce Sexually Transmitted Infections/HIV transmission among high-risk migrants
Education & Literacy: The educational initiatives of SUNDESH for underprivileged children include non- formal education [6-14 years non-school going], special school for working children [8-13 years], remedial education [6-14 years school-going], besides holding classes for women. SUNDESH holds classes for underprivileged children between 6 and 14 years of age. After completing their basic education, these children, who have never had a chance to see a school from inside or are school dropouts, are then encouraged to get enrolled in formal schools.
Income Generation Programmes: Capability enhancement programmes have been introduced offering vocational training in cutting & tailoring, machine & hand embroidery, bee keeping, mushroom farming, mehandi application and vermi-composting.
Dabur has started the project on medicinal plants in Nepal to provide the modern technology for cultivation of the required medicinal herbs of Himalayas to the farmers.
The pursuit of CSR can take some very strange turns as demonstrated by the Aircel campaign to save the tiger. Aircel is one of the biggest mobile phone providers in India. In 2010, they launched the Save our Tiger campaign represented by a tiger cub called Stripey with whom the country promptly fell in love with. Prime time TV could barely be watched without Stripey and his 'I'm abandoned, please save me' eyes. Now abruptly, he has disappeared and taken his much talked about cuteness with him.
Every TV-watching, net-savvy person in India now knows that only 1411 tigers exist in the wild. We know the company has tied up with WWF to give it some credibility. Some of us wonder if this is an attempt at a badly executed CSR effort.
What seems specifically unclear to me remains the ultimate aim of the campaign. Was it started to: (a) create awareness? or (b) create the impression of corporate responsibility? or (c) give people the impression that Aircel is going to take a lead in saving the tiger? Since Project Tiger, which has been the most successful program in the 70s lost steam; tiger conservation in India has always had its lulls and rises. There has never been a concentrated effort to increase numbers by putting a check on poaching and habitat destruction. More importantly there has not been much transparency, advocacy or public involvement in the process. Every census releases varying numbers regarding tiger population - does Aircel explain how the number 1411 was arrived at?
Aircel's attempt at gathering public sympathy for the fate of India's national animal is admirable. The campaign regardless of whether it is CSR or not, is not strategically clever. It does really explain what the company itself is doing to save the tiger apart from throwing Stripey on the airwaves. The campaign would have infinitely more credibility if they could explain why it is really, truly important to save the tiger along with its habitat. Most unfortunately, the company does not galvanize on the campaign to further its image of CSR. The entire campaign looks like one quick brainstorm session resulting in the words 'tiger' and 'save' put together, how to publicize the issue with as much noise as possible... and then abruptly stop.
Conservation efforts are dependent on rate of biodiversity loss which is tied into economic losses. Stripey no matter how cute and how much celebrity support he garners, will not stir public sympathies for too long unless a holistic picture is provided. I hope someone from Aircel is reading this: more information is needed on their campaign objectives, overall picture of CSR activities, how they plan on achieving these and where they're getting their tiger numbers from - for starters.
Hindustan Latex Limited
Hindustan Latex Limited, a public sector company established more than three decades ago, came to occupy a premier position in the country's family planning and health care programs. Hindustan Latex Limited ventured into social sector projects aimed at creating a planned social change. It was with this objective that HLL formed the Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust, a non-profit organization promoted by HLL, undertaking the conceptualization and implementation of various Social Sector Projects and broad based to focus on reproductive and sexual health.
Distribution of social marketing brands of contraceptives through unemployed, educated and mobile rural youth, supported by a comprehensive local media based IEC programme, thereby contributing to the reduction of Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in the rural areas and
Advancement of family health through the promotion of sanitary napkins and oral rehydration salts (ORS).
Community based distribution of Contraceptives project - Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa , Sukha Parivaram is a social marketing programme for the state of Andhra Pradesh and will make available a basket of social marketing goods such as condoms, oral contraceptive pills, iron and folic acid tablets (for pregnant women) and ORS.
Mobile Health Clinic Project to ensure that the health services are able to reach the remote, inaccessible and underserved areas. In combination with reduced education levels this innovative approach will help to take the health infrastructure at the nearest village of the rural populace specially in those villages which are currently not served by any PHC and private clinics.
It is an important milestone which began with the philanthropic work of Paramanand Deepchand Hinduja (1901 - 1971), founder of the Hinduja Group. This legacy is carried forward under the aegis of the Hinduja Foundation which works in tandem with Hinduja Foundations established in the UK and the USA. Together they form an integral part of the Hinduja Group and strive to achieve their goals by creating socially responsible institutions; working jointly with other institutions of repute and by supporting deserving NGOs working for similar objectives.
Drawing inspiration from the founder, the Hinduja Foundation believes that philanthropy, a sacred social responsibility of all enterprise, is worthier when it encourages self help and sets an example for the younger generations. Srichand P. Hinduja, Chairman of the Hinduja Group, leads the Foundation. "Our aim," he says, "is to build bridges between India and the world, between the past and the present, between generations that are and generations to come."
The Foundation's core objectives are:
Arts, Culture and Interfaith Understanding
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY - INTERNATIONAL COMPANIES
Coca cola follows corporate social responsibility practices in the following areas - Beverage Benefits, Active healthy living, Community, Energy Efficiency and climate Protection, Sustainable Packaging, Live Positively Program, Water Steward Ship. The following are the salient features of their CSR Activities.
All these programs are collectively known as the 'Live Positively' Program.
Under their Beverage Benefits Program they plan to invest more than $50 million in research by 2015 and aim to have low and no calorie options and smaller portion sizes to be made available in communities where obesity is a significant problem.
Their Active Healthy Living Program aims to support the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation in reducing the total annual calories consumed in the U.S by 1.5 Trillion(by the end of 2015)
By the end of 2015, Coke wants to ensure that it does not directly market their beverages to children less than 12 years of age following ethics in marketing.
Through their Community Development Initiatives coke aims to form 1,300 to 2,000 new Micro Distribution Centers (MDCs) in Africa and by the end of 2020 empower 5 million businesswomen in their global business system.
Coke's Energy Efficiency and Climate protection activities aim to Grow our business but not our system wide carbon emissions from our manufacturing operations through 2015, compared with a 2004 baseline.
Through their sustainable packaging initiatives they plan to improve packaging material efficiency per liter of product sold by 7%, compared with a 2008 baseline.
Through their water stewardship programs coke plans to return to nature and communities the water they use in their beverage production
They also create diverse and healthy workplaces aligned with international human rights principles.
Google developed a separate technological platform called google.org to use its core competency in the area of Information Technology to build products and advocate for policies that address global challenges. They have the following projects which fall under their CSR and philanthropic activities.
Google Crisis Response Project aims at making critical information more accessible during the natural disasters and humanitarian crises. After the massive Earthquake in Japan they used this project to provide emergency information, maps and missing persons resources
Google's Earth Engine enables the analysis of raw satellite imagery data and extraction of meaningful information about the world's forests, such as locations and measurements of deforestation
Google's 'RE<C' initiative aims at developing utility scale renewable energy cheaper than coal (RE<C) and accelerating the commercialization of plug-in vehicles through the RechargeIT project. The focus of this project is to develop renewable energy cheaper than coal.
Google Flu trends Project use Google search data to estimate flu activity.
Google Power Meter Project, a free energy monitoring tool helps in saving energy and money. Using energy information provided by utility smart meters and energy monitoring devices, this software enables you to view one's home energy consumption from anywhere online.
Google's Philanthropic efforts in the areas of Engineering Awards and Charitable Giving include supporting universities in their Academic research efforts and giving Google Scholarships which help students especially minorities and women with their Computer science and technology studies.
They also gave out a $20 million donation in 2010 to charities from around the globe in order to help organizations who have been stretched thin by increasing requests for help at a time of lower donations.
Nokia aims to lead in sustainability by taking it into account in everything they do. Over a billion people in the world use a Nokia phone, and Nokia employees are excited about the opportunities this provides for improving people's livelihoods and encouraging them to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle. As a market leader, one of the best ways they can contribute to the global community is to conduct their business in a responsible way. They are committed to drive ethically sound policies and practices that guide us in their work. They have a long track record of taking sustainability into account in all their operations, products and services, but their also look beyond their own operations to use their scale for good. Put simply, sustainability is their way of doing business, and their corporate responsibility agenda is framed around the Nokia values of being very human, engaging everyone, innovation and achieving together.
Mobile communications have played a big role in billions of people's lives. Now that mobile devices are connecting us in many ways beyond calls, Nokia has been leading and encouraging innovation around how to harness this new connectivity to help people solve everyday challenges and connect them to what matters most. New, innovative mobile solutions hold tremendous potential for changing the way the society lives.
Their impacts and commitment:- Maximising the benefits of mobile communication and minimising potentially negative effects requires commitment from governments, civil society, and the business sector. As a market leader with global operations they recognise that their potential impact, and therefore their responsibility, is great.
From a social growth and economic development perspective, they acknowledge their impact and responsibilities throughout their value chain: in their sourcing, product design, manufacturing, logistics, recycling, communications, employee well-being, business partnerships, community involvement and social investments. Through their solutions they respond to various environmental and societal needs. Their overall response to their stakeholders is to produce high-quality, safe products and valuable services for a consumer offerings that has a positive influence on the society and the planet.
Based on their heritage and business, Kellogg's chooses to focus on three major areas:
Helping Children and Youth Reach their Potential
Improving Opportunities for Minorities and Women
In 2005, Kellogg's contributed more than $8 million in cash and $20 million in product to various charitable organizations around the world. Half of their corporate giving is based on what is important to the employees - contributions that are part of Kellogg Care-their matching-grant program, and United Way. The food donations primarily are made through America's Second Harvest, a nationwide network of food banks and food rescue organizations that feeds hungry children and families across the country.
Kellogg's employees make a difference in their local communities by volunteering and participating in wide-ranging charitable activities. Kellogg Company provides a dollar-for-dollar match of employee gifts to qualified educational, cultural and environmental organizations.
Partners and Partnerships : Kellogg's works with organizations and programs with proven results, improving lives around the country and throughout the world including United Way, America's Second Harvest, and HOSTS Learning - "Help One Student to Succeed."
Wellness and Nutrition: The Kellogg legacy is based on the philosophy that people can improve their health by eating a balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity. Living a healthy lifestyle begins with a good understanding of nutrition. Kellogg's believes in providing high-quality, nutritious food and helping educate consumers about the benefits of a healthy diet.
Ethics and compliance: Through their Global Code of Ethics, Kellogg's employees understand that:
They are firmly committed to the fair and equitable treatment of all our employees and job applicants.
Customers and consumers expect more from Kellogg Company and it is every employee's job to make sure Kellogg meets their expectations.
Investors count on Kellogg to deliver on its commitments, provide accurate information about its affiliates and to make responsible business decisions based on reliable records.
Kellogg believes in doing business with suppliers, contractors, joint venture partners, agents, sales representatives, distributors and consultants who embrace and demonstrate high standards of ethical behavior.
They actively seek opportunities to contribute to the communities in which we do business, and to improve the environment that sustains us all.
Diversity and Inclusion: At Kellogg Company, Individuals are valued for their diverse backgrounds, experiences, styles, approaches and ideas.They actively promote diversity in work force. This diversity inspires the innovation that drives business and helps enhance competitive advantage
Workplace Health and Safety: Employee safety is a value at Kellogg. They are committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment and preventing accidents. Employees are accountable for observing the safety and health rules and practices that apply to their jobs and are expected to take precautions necessary to protect them and their co-workers, including immediately reporting accidents, injuries and unsafe practices or conditions.
Kellogg and the Environment: Promoting and maintaining environmentally responsible practices is beneficial for everyone - our customers, consumers, employees and the communities in which they operate. Kellogg Company conducts business in ways that protect the environment and demonstrate good stewardship of our world's natural resources. They work closely and cooperatively with local communities, suppliers and contractors, government agencies, and other organizations engaged in improving the environment. Their current focus is on energy use. While a 10% reduction in the energy used to produce the products has been seen since 1997, the goal is to continue this reduction. The Kellogg's environmental audit program includes periodic and complete evaluations of all our manufacturing practices. Almost all Kellogg cereal cartons are made of 100% recycled fiber, with at least 35% post-consumer material.
The Public Affairs Committee of Citi's Board of Directors oversees overall Citizenship priorities and performance. Its businesses, supported by Director of Corporate Citizenship, implement Citizenship policies and commitments through their daily work. Internal teams specializing in topics such as the environment, public policy, diversity, financial education, community relations and human rights support the businesses.
Citi Foundation: The Citi Foundation is committed to the economic empowerment of individuals and families, particularly those in need, in the communities where we work so they can improve their standard of living. It provides grant support for programs aligned with the Citi Foundation's five strategic funding areas: Microfinance and Microenterprise, Small and Growing Businesses, Financial Capability and Asset Building, College and Careers and Neighborhood Revitalization
The key stakeholders include investors, employees, customers, vendors, suppliers, communities, regulators, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and peer institutions in networks such as the Equator Principles and Carbon Principles. It seeks to engage regularly with both individual stakeholders and institutions to share information, listen to stakeholders' ideas and concerns and, where possible, refine its policies and practices in response.
The Citi Code of Conduct outlines the laws, rules, regulations and Citi policies that govern its activities and sets companywide standards of ethics and business behavior. Citi participates in public policy debates globally to further the company's strategic and Citizenship goals. It also supports the preservation of human rights around the world and is guided by fundamental principles such as those described in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labor Organization (ILO ) Core Conventions
Responsible Finance: Focus on meeting the needs of consumers and clients, treating them fairly and providing support when needed and manage the environmental and social risks posed by the projects it finances. It uses financial industry standards such as the Equator Principles and Carbon Principles and a comprehensive ESRM Policy to screen transactions, help its bankers to advise clients, and promote environmentally and socially sound ways of doing business. Economic empowerment and access to financial services are critically important Citi Microfinance works with a range of institutions as clients and partners to ensure that those outside the reach of traditional banks get access to financial services.
Valuing Its People: It provides a safe and stimulating workplace and opportunities to learn and improve personal and professional skills. Around the world it aims to being a company where the best people want to work, where opportunities to develop are widely available, and where employees are encouraged to fulfill their professional and personal goals. Its diversity strategy focuses on four areas: management accountability, attracting talent, workforce development and work environment.
Operations: It is committed to improving the environmental efficiency of its operations, primarily by reducing its energy use by purchasing renewable energy where available and providing opportunities for employees to contribute to a greener Citi. Working with the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) and energy services companies, it has devised a program to develop energy reducing projects across its facilities.
Volkswagen's take on CSR is the practical application of the concept of sustainable development by business organizations. Businesses have always taken care of their natural and social environments, to greater or lesser degrees. The new facet is to gather these activities together under the conceptual umbrella of CSR. Volkswagen regards CSR as a business management philosophy and not as window dressing for its main business; this turns CSR into a business case rather than a social one. Defining CSR as a management issue elevates that which companies previously developed individually on an ad hoc and usually back office basis onto a strategic and, at the same time, political level. Corporations now have an instrument with which to make their social "investments" visible in order to stand out from the competition. It creates the means of satisfying the need for communications with stakeholders, while concurrently shifting their socially-based projects into the company's core activities and issues; into value generating elements. This understanding, i.e. that CSR also represents a strategy for boosting competitiveness, forms a starting point for sustainability-oriented management. The content of CSR is a dynamic process, driven by both market forces and social stakeholder groups, in turn shaped and influenced by cultural traditions and history as well as by the particularities of locales distributed throughout the world. For example, in Brazil, Mexico and South Africa the fight against Aids, help for street children and campaigns to combat illiteracy are just as important for Volkswagen as is the provision of sufficient trainee places in Germany. The spectrum of challenges is broad, the number of routes to solutions equally so. Corporate Social Responsibility, if it is to be worthy of its name, must therefore live the spirit of free enterprise. Its principal characteristics are flexibility and a willingness to innovate. A corset of equalising standards, rules and regulations would be counterproductive - such a straight jacket has the effect of undermining business motivation and stultifying the creative potential of voluntary actions. Before any misunderstandings arise: compliance with the standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the UN human rights convention, the OECD guidelines for multinational corporations and similar codes of conduct are not the issue here. Volkswagen regards these standards as being the necessary (but also sufficient) framework for responsible and viable business operations. The potential for future economic and social developments derived from greater efficiency is not to be found in the over regulated territories of Germany or Europe, which themselves are struggling against the enforcement deficits of an excessive bureaucratic regime. It would be beneficial for politics, business and society if many paths towards shared goals, towards solutions, were recognised as being equally valid.Only then will Corporate Social Responsibility be able to evolve in the spirit of modern economic and social policies with an entrepreneurial flavour. The social preconditions are: mutual acceptance, understanding, trust and transparency.
Barclays is one of the largest corporate donors in the UK, with a high level of direct financial contribution. As mentioned in the Mission above, positive contribution to the community is part of the business objectives and this is implemented practically through various programmes.
Social inclusion is a focus of Barclays' community initiatives. Its involvement on the whole, is limited to carefully targeted cash contributions. These are mainly aimed at organisations working with young people and homelessness. However, in efforts towards "bridging the digital divide" the approach is more one of partnership where Barclays works alongside organisations that aim to help socially or geographically excluded people access information technology. Accessibility in a diverse society is a focus of Barclays' policy towards its customers and employees.
With customers, Barclays has commissioned market research with a social focus, including a study of the profile and experience of older entrepreneurs and a report on young entrepreneurship. Research was also undertaken to understand the requirements and expectations of ethnic-minority personal and small-business customers, and the gay and lesbian market.
The company claims that becoming a more inclusive organisation will enable it to capitalise on the talents of all Barclays employees. To this end an Equality and diversity charter was developed and signed by the members of the Executive Committee. Part of the initiatives was the following objectives:
By 2012 - have a workforce that reflects the communities in which we operate and the international nature of the organisation
By 2006 - double the representation of women in senior executive positions (from 11% to 22%) and 3% of senior executives from ethnic minority backgrounds (from 0.6%)
By 2006 - more than 70% of employees in all employee groups satisfied with Barclays' performance on Equality and diversity.
The company has set up five task forces of employee volunteers. Each task force looks at one of the key issues of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation and age. Senior champions, including the Chief Executives of Barclaycard and Barclays Private Clients, lead these groups. This initiative towards diversity and equality, developed and implemented internally demonstrates a commitment to integrating the issues into its business processes and making it a dynamic process.
Business benefit: As well as being part of its overall business mission, Barclays' approach to social inclusion and community involvement has benefits on different levels. Externally, Barclays' corporate reputation is improved by its high-profile involvement in national charity events. However this is not sufficient in itself and it is backed up by its partnership initiatives. Internally, the Equality and diversity initiative and the employee volunteering scheme can contribute to staff attraction, recruitment, motivation and retention. Through its efforts towards social inclusion and education, and in particular financial inclusion, not only helps people access banking services, but builds future markets for the company. This benefit socially excluded individuals and benefits the business.
World Wrestling Entertainment
The WrestleMania Reading Challenge had WWE tag teaming with the Young Adult Library Services Association, the youth division of the American Library Association, and approximately 1,800 local libraries across the country to get teens to engage in reading.
In the U.S., teens in grades five through 12 were eligible to sign up for the program. Each teen was asked to read a combination of 10 books and magazines. Students who turn in their completed reading logs received a WWE mini poster. Students could then enter a bookmark contest. Local libraries chose the best bookmark submitted from each age group. A panel of judges chose 15 finalists, five from each grade category and different regions of the country. The 7th through 12th graders went on to compete in the national finals. Along with attending the finals of the challenge, WWE also hosted the finalists at WrestleMania. The libraries sponsoring the finalists each received a $2,000 donation.
WWE won its first Beacon Award in the Community Relations-Other category. The Beacon Awards are the cable industries highest award for communications excellence. Cable operators, programming networks, cable associations and new technology partners are recognized for achievements in public affairs and communications initiatives in categories such as community relations, competitive response, and programming.
The WrestleMania Reading Challenge also has received an honorable mention from PR News in its national Corporate Social Responsibility competition. PR News' Corporate Social Responsibility Awards recognizes most outstanding communications initiatives and programs in the CSR arena.
The WrestleMania Reading Challenge has grown from occasional library visits into a nationally recognized program, which in 2007/2008 impacted more than 30,000 high school and middle schools students and involved more than 1,170 libraries in 49 states. The program also has expanded into the United Kingdom with similar success.
Standard Chartered Bank
Through the lending practices StanChart aims to be a force for good, integrating environment and sustainable development considerations into their lending decision making process - opening up new markets for example in renewable energy and clean technologies. Standard Chartered is involved in real partnerships with local community organisations, involving active participation of its employees in their community projects.
India has over 12 million blind people and helping the visually impaired was Stanchart's first external global community fund raising project. Called 'Seeing is Believing', it has an ambitious target of restoring the sight of 28,000 people across the world, with 6,500 surgeries having already been performed in India. The screening camps and surgeries have been conducted in partnership with NGOs across India, especially ICARE Hospital in Uttar Pradesh's Noida, Sankara Nethralaya and Helpage India, followed by post-operative check-ups
The global community programme of the bank is called 'Believing in Life'. Part of this is the internal initiative 'Living with HIV'. An extension of the programme in Africa, it seeks to create awareness about this deadly disease and thus help prevention by educating all its staff across the different countries from where the bank operates.
Children and their education is another target area. The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, Mumbai has received assistance for the renovation of their heritage building and regular funding for education of visually impaired children. Stanchart is also a major donor to and supporter of the Balwadi programmes, 'Pratham Mumbai Initiative' and 'Pratham Delhi Initiative', which aim to provide educational facilities to poor children.
In addition, they have been providing funds for DHRITI, a project that involves the sponsorship of a year's supply of medicine for the destitute and aged. Stanchart announced its intent to include donations to the Akshaya Patra programme to the list of reward redemption options, thereby offering card members an opportunity to contribute to community development.
The Bangalore Police has also benefited from Stanchart. They received 10 two-wheelers for keeping the city clean and free of anti-social elements. All vehicles in the City were also given a free emission check-up to help in pollution-control.
Stanchart launched an annual community initiative on June 1, 2004, under the banner 'Believing in Life-India Community Partnership'. On the occasion, Rs 25 lakh was donated to ICARE hospital in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
United Colours of Benetton
In 2008 Benetton Group put the spotlight on Africa. Benetton's promoted the Birima micro-credit program in Senegal that receives financial support from the company. This is a co-operative credit society founded by the singer Youssou N'Dour.
This campaign featured Senegalese workers who have used micro loans to start small, productive businesses. These people became tangible symbols of Africa that uses work to fight poverty, increases its resources and take back responsibility for creating its future.
According to Alessandro Benetton the project emphasizes "the new face of Africa" through entrepreneurial talent, hard work, optimism and interest for the future. What's special about this program is Birima grants higher loans for a longer period of time compared to normal micro-crediting. It enhances the community's confidence and guarantees profits and development.
They do this by: Respecting employees and providing an environment where people can express their talents, Complying with strict regulations and Working towards a green planet through the use of clean technologies.
Benetton group has a blog called "Benetton Talk" where the company invites users to "tell us things we should think about today". People upload pictures, video, comments on topics they find important for our society. In this blog users post mainly things related to art and creativity: some interesting pictures and inventions from users are uploaded. This is in line with Benetton engagement toward young generations and their development of creativity. Users highly participate in this blog
Many companies have identified the need to switch to this new paradigm of 'Shared Value Creation'. One such company is Nestle, which recently has realized the importance of earning profits through shared value creation. Their website has the following lines which signify their commitment to CSV (Creating shared Value) - "Creating Shared Value is a fundamental part of Nestlé's way of doing business that focuses on specific areas of the Company's core business activities - namely water, nutrition, and rural development - where value can best be created both for society and shareholders."
Nestle developed a set of KPI's to measure its CSV program. For example in the rural development activities some of their KPIs are number of farmers trained through capacity-building programmes, number of Direct procurement markets covered by these initiatives etc. The following table has data about the impact of their CSV programmes.
Some important CSV practices of Nestle:
More than 40 % of Nestle's Milk is sourced directly from farmers
Sustainable agriculture initiatives
Small holder Dairy Projects involving women farmers.
American Express believes that serving communities is not only integral to running a business successfully; it is part of their individual responsibilities as citizens of the world. The mission is to bring to life the American Express value of good corporate citizenship by supporting diverse communities in ways that enhance the company's reputation with employees, customers, business partners and other stakeholders.
American Express Partners in Preservation: Historic preservation has long been the hallmark of American Express's involvement in the community, reflecting its recognition of the contribution of historic sites and monuments to a sense of national and local identity and the role that their preservation can play in attracting visitors and revitalizing neighborhoods
The American Express Partners in Preservation initiative with the World Monuments Fund and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Partners in Preservation aims to increase public awareness of the importance of historic and environmental conservation, preserve global historic and cultural landmarks, educate visitors on sustainable tourism and strengthen local communities through preservation efforts
Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow: American Express appreciates the impact that talented leaders can have on business and society as a whole, and dedicates significant resources to attract, develop and retain talented employees. It is especially interested in proposals that cultivate leadership opportunities for diverse communities within the nonprofit sector or that focus on innovative leadership development programs for emerging leaders of world-class institutions.
Encouraging Community Service and Engagement Where Our Employees and Customers Live and Work: American Express believes that service has been a hallmark of the company. This service ethos comes to life every time they help a customer show the same care and commitment to service - Encouraging good citizenship by supporting organizations that cultivate meaningful opportunities for civic engagement and serve communities by supporting immediate and long-term relief and recovery efforts to help victims of natural disasters. Funding also goes to support preparedness programs that allow relief agencies to be better equipped in responding to emergencies as they occur.