Although most companies regard corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a way to enhance their public image, we must be reminded of what CSR is supposed to be: to take responsibility for the company’s effects on the well-being of the environment and society. CSR also applies to efforts that not only go beyond what is required by regulators, but also contribute to social change.
But CSR is not exclusive to big corporations or organizations. CSR is something that can be initiated even by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. It is not about what type or size of business you have but it is about your company deciding what CSR program you can undertake.
To help you decide on this, here are three tips on what should be your considerations in starting your CSR program, according to JR Demecais, a social entrepreneur, a researcher and project manager of various CSR programs:
Business-aligned social purpose
CSR programs should reflect the values, aspirations and goals of your business toward contributing to a social purpose. In doing this, the CSR program strengthens the value proposition of the company, at the same time leverages what the company is good at doing or its area of expertise.
Contribute toward sustainable development goals.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by 193 countries including the Philippines in September 2015. The ultimate goal is to mobilize efforts of both the government and the private sector to achieve SDG targets by 2030. Your CSR programs could be a perfect way to align with these targets.
“How to start a CSR program?” is an operational question after knowing your considerations of what a good CSR program for your company would be. Here are four initial steps you could do to launch your company’s CSR program:
1. Know your company’s strengths. Assess the competencies of your company by looking at your business operations. After identifying, think innovatively on how you can offer this best to answer a need of a group or a community.
3. Build support. Since CSR programs entail costs, it is always best to start with extensive planning. Build your case on why your company should invest in the program and how the company will be able to benefit. Social return on investment is a tool used to help business owners understand CSR programs using the business’s point-of-view.
4. Find a collaborator. Lobbying your CSR program to management will be the most challenging part in starting. Spot a collaborator within the organization to help you lobby for the launching of your CSR program. The collaborator should be someone that can effect inspiration among decision makers.