What's CSR to F&B?
Par1 of 4 part series on CSR- corporate social responsibility- how is it applicable to my business?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR, also called corporate conscience, corporate citizenship, social performance, or sustainable responsible business) is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into your business.
When Nike tells you it does not use underpaid employess in Indonesia this is a part of the Corporate social responsibiluty agenda. Not only does this company not use such labour, but activly lobbies to pay more than a living wage and to ensure good work practicies in its company and among its sub contractors. This is both a response to negative publicity about wage rates of some sub-contractors that could harm the business but also through a genuine approach to assist build developing econmomies, and not just exploit them.
APB- makers of Tiger and Heineken beer- use a lot of water, and to assist the enviornment and to save money its has activly implemented practices to reduce water usage by over 50% on the last 5 years- this is both good for the enbvironment and good for their profitability. In addition they have standards in advance of local laws on the quality of waste water, and ensure water resoources are conserved by enhancing water recycling. This is an example of positive business practices also enhancing the environment.
CSR policy functions as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby your business can monitor and ensure active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, and international norms in doing business. The goal of CSR is to embrace responsibility for the company's actions and encourage a positive impact on the environment, and people through understanding the impact of a businesses activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public.
Many CSR-focused businesses actively promote the public interest by encouraging community growth and development, and voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the the environmment, employees, customers, neighbours, regardless of formal legality, thus taking responsibility to do more than just the base level demanded by the law. At its heart, CSR is the deliberate inclusion of the environment and public awareness into corporate decision-making.
The term "corporate social responsibility" came in to common use in the late 1960s and early 1970s, after many multinational corporations formed. Proponents argue that corporations make more long term profits by operating with a people and environmental perspective, while critics argue that CSR distracts from the economic role of businesses.
CSR is titled to aid an organization's mission as well as a guide what the company stands for and will uphold to its consumers. ISO 26000 is the recognized international standard for CSR. The UN has developed the Principles for Responsible Investment as guidelines for investing entities.
Key CSR issues include governance (bribery of government and other officials; fraud etc), environmental management, stakeholder engagement (with government, consumers, local residents), labour standards, employee and community relations, social equity, responsible or ethical sourcing and promoting human rights.
CSR is not only about fulfilling a duty to society; it should also bringing some competitive advantages. Through an effective CSR programme, companies can:
- improve access to capital (reduces risk to a buinsess therefore enabling cheaper loans and better investment)
- sharpen decision-making and reducing risk (enables businesses to look at the bigger picture)
- enhance brand image (or removes any possibility of negative images)
- uncover previously hidden commercial opportunities, including new markets
- reduces costs (in the short and/or long term)
attracts, retains and motivates employees.
OK, so this is a broad definition of CSR, and in our nextr article we'll go in more depth about CSR and F&B businesses.