" (Kotler and Lee 2005, p.3). Since this study was published, the contributions have steadily increased making CSR an integral part of every major company today.
A report by Price Water Cooper House in 2010 shows that the CSR initiatives and reporting has increased despite the sagging economy and this points to a positive change in the mindset of the management of companies. "PWC explains that such reports have become critical to a company's credibility, transparency and endurance." (Business & the Environment 2010, p.5). The reduced role of the Government in business circles is only going to further increase this trend because companies feel they have an obligation to the society at large and they want to make this country a better place for living. All this is done out of their own interest and initiative rather than any force by any external institution. Also, many companies understand the significance of undertaking such initiatives to their company and so they want to continue doing it.
As companies are having a growing presence in communities due to their voluntary programs, it gives them greater confidence to make public their goals and aims for the future. More and more people belonging to different groups are following the reports, goals, news and other milestones of well-known companies that play a role in their life, directly or indirectly. This public attention, in turn, forces the company to set tangible and sustainable goals within a reasonable time period. These goals helps the company to have a focus and helps the management to formulate policies that will help them to reach these goals. According to (Wootliff 2010 as quoted in Business and the Environment, 2011, p.6), "There is no doubt that one of the most important advances in sustainability reporting has been the growing preparedness of corporations to publicly state what they aim to achieve. & #8230; Goals provide observable and measurable results that need to be achieved within a timeframe. & #8230; They provide a compass to managers who need clear, benchmarkable targets that can steer them in an agreed direction." It can provide more meaning to the employees, managers and to all other people who have a stake in the company.
Sustainable development goals not only describe the goals of the company, but it also extends to how the environment can be preserved and the resources used for production can be renewed so that the natural world can be available for posterity. In the context of such an environment-friendly approach, these sustainable goals are an important step for every company. Sustainability development and CSR go hand in hand because a company can set goals only as part of its CSR campaign that aims to protect the environment as well as improve the community in which it operates.
Problems that come with CSR
Though the benefits of CSR and sustainability development are enormous, it becomes difficult to implement in practical terms and this can be attributed to numerous reasons. Firstly, the concept of CSR and community development is more prevalent in advanced economies than developing and under-developed economies due to the difference in the societies. As more and more countries are moving their operations to third-world countries, it becomes difficult to estimate the environmental damage. Many developing economies do not have stringent environmental laws and there is little accountability for the perpetrators, thereby making it difficult to hold anyone responsible for any environmental damage. In the light of this situation, the idea of corporate social responsibility becomes moot because the companies are focusing their attention primarily in the developed countries. These countries no longer have processing and manufacturing industries that pollute their environment and the people enjoy a greater standard of living when compared to those who live in abject poverty in under-developed and developing countries. In other words, the countries that need support from corporates as part of their CSR are not getting and so the money spent by the businesses is not really being used in the right direction.
Other problems arise in the implementation aspect of CSR. Many companies prefer to work with NGOs to ensure that their money reaches people who need them the most. but, these NGOs should be on the same wavelength of the company for successful implementation of any project. These NGOs evaluate and act as a watchdog for the CSR activities of the company and this can prove to be a major point of dissent.
Another common problem is when the company announces a big initiative and fails to follow it up with action due to a number of factors including lack of resources and external problems like recession. "In our view, CSR is a journey. You don't need to solve anything. You perfect yourself and your community. There are so many companies failing to live up to their aspirations, so if you're making progress, at least you are getting somewhere." (Billington, 2008, p.2). A lot of companies think that they should either go full-throttle or not venture at all. Unfortunately, they fail to realize that their small contribution can make a big difference in someone's life and this in turn, can also help their company in small, but significant ways. Lack of this attitude is another problem with implementing CSR initiatives.
Examples of CSR and Sustainability Development
Today, there are numerous companies that are involved in CSR and they are helping some communities to live better. "Business leaders and firms themselves are even responding to calls for enhanced corporate social responsibility. From mavens, such as the Body Shop's Anita Roddick, to converts, such as British Petroleum's John Browne, some business leaders are preaching -- and at least trying to practice -- an approach to business that affirms the broad contribution that companies can make to human welfare, beyond maximizing the wealth of shareholders." (Margolis and Walsh, 2003, p.269).
A good example of CSR is the one taken by Chevron in the Niger Delta where it has a huge presence to explore and drill the oil resources of this region. It has created the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative Foundation in 2010 to help to address the socio-economic challenges facing this country. In 2011, it announced that it would contribute $50 million towards this fund. Some of its initiatives in this region include providing employment to more than 5,000 people through the Local Community Content Policy, establishing an advanced technology center, funding the biotechnology center of Yola university in northeastern Nigeria, fighting HIV / AIDS, creating mobile health services for people in the remote parts of the Niger delta and donating 11,000 books to Nigerian universities. (Chevron, 2011).
Another good example is that of Tyson Foods that uses its resources to alleviate hunger in the United States. It created the KNOW Hunger campaign in 2011 that urges people to know of the existence of hunger in their community and what they can do alleviate it. It has also contributed about 78 million pounds of protein to food banks across the U.S. And is actively involved with hunger fighting NGOs such as Lift Up America. (Tyson Hunger Relief, 2011).
These examples shown the voluntary nature of companies in uplifting their communities despite the lack of mandatory laws in this segment. With the reduced ability of the government to oversee such initiatives, it is important that the companies continue them of their own free will. They should also look at expanding their initiatives beyond their community to other parts of the world that need this support to remove many social problems like poverty, child labor and illiteracy.
In short, CSR is the primary means by which a company can contribute to the social development and environmental protection of the region in which it operates. It is a way of giving something back to the community that has helped it to grow and advance. In this troubled financial environment, the role of the government in enforcing these initiatives is shrinking and so its important that the companies take a voluntary stance to continue rebuilding these communities. Despite problems with implementation, the companies should persist for the greater good of the people and environment that are an integral part of its ability to make profits and sustain long-term growth and development.
Associated Press. 2011, February 25. State and Local Budget Cuts are slowing the U.S. Economy. Fox News. [Online] Available at: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/02/25/government-budget-cuts-pose-threat-recovery / [Accessed 27 March 2011]
No Author. 2011. Political Conditions. United States Country Review. 1(5). pp29-258.
Kotler, Philip; Lee, Nancy. 2005. Corporate Social Responsibility: Doing the most good for your company and your cause. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
BSD Global. 2011. Corporate Social Responsibility. International Institute for Sustainable Development. [Online]. Available at: http://www.iisd.org/business/issues/sr.aspx [Accessed 27 March 2011]
No author. Jan 2011. CSR Reporting: By the Numbers. Business & the Environment with ISO 14000 Updates. 22(1). p6-7