Corporate Social responsibility includes actively enhancing the quality of environment – local, remote or across a larger geographical area – to minimize the impact a company’s products have on the environment. For example, airlines offer the opportunity to customers to contribute towards planting a tree, thereby reducing the carbon print.
Responsible businesses recognize the direct link between their long-term growth and their ability to meet the requirements of the local communities as well as of the environment in general. Their active involvement can take many forms:
Sustainability of Environment: Companies can choose a specific area of protection and enhancement like the flora, fauna and habitat in the local region, for example, the mangroves on the West coast, or a specific flora or fauna across different regions, for example, tigers across India. This in turn binds the long-term benefits of sustaining that particular domain or region with their corporate name, creating immense brand recognition and value. For example, companies that use extensive water resources take steps to protect this resource in local communities. Shipping companies could take on the responsibility of protecting sea life, either as a broad responsibility of a particular sea habitat or of a particular species.
Local Community: The local community can be a market as well as a source of employee recruitment. Companies can support a local charity or sponsor a local environment-related event, offer its support, expertise and employee participation in community projects with or without commercial benefit to themselves. It is known that water purifier companies involve themselves in large water purification plants in local communities working out arrangements that are of mutual benefit.
Business Benefits: Here too, the business benefits are many
Customer, employee, supplier good will rises.
- If the company’s involvement is local, while the positive publicity strengthens its image and presence, it also improves the neighbourhood and standard of living, providing a qualified recruitment pool.
- Employee motivation will be high. Highly motivated employees tend to be loyal and dedicated workers with lower employee turnover and absenteeism.
- In some cases, the local market for the company’s products strengthens. Customer loyalty translates to higher sales, minimising marketing costs necessary for continuous new customer acquisition.
- A communication outreach programme helps publicise the CSR activity with employees, customers and the local community through positive, news-worthy stories. This in turn gives companies a competitive edge with the Government, the public sector and with NGOs. Further, it enhances the company’s brand image and builds long-term value.
- Companies will be identified with their active concern for the health and welfare of not just human communities directly but also indirectly by protecting the flora, fauna and habitat which forms the community’s environment and livelihood.