Caribbean News Now!

About Us Contact Us

Countries/Territories

Jump to your country or territory of interest

Advertise with us

Reach our daily visitors from around the Caribbean and throughout the world. Click here for rates and placements.

Contribute

Submit news and opinion for publication

Subscribe

Click here to receive our daily regional news headlines by email.

Archives

Click here to browse our extensive archives going back to 2004

Also, for the convenience of our readers and the online community generally, we have reproduced the complete Caribbean Net News archives from 2004 to 2010 here.

Climate Change Watch

The Caribbean is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels brought about by global warming. Read the latest news and information here...

Travel


Follow Caribbean News Now on Twitter
Connect with Caribbean News Now on Linkedin



News from the Caribbean:


Back To Today's News

Technology Matters: Doing good is good business
Published on April 17, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

doing_good_is_good_business.jpg

By Bevil Wooding

The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility

Technology can turn a cause into a movement, faster than ever before. Yet, in an Internet-enabled world of social networks, mobile payments, virtual learning and crowdsourcing, most firms’ approach to social giving remains stuck in the corporate dark-ages. So how do companies go about unlocking the true potential of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives? Changing leadership thinking, not technology, holds the key.

Companies around the world are waking up to the fact that throwing dollars at social causes is not sufficient to bolster a brand. It is also not the most effective way to drive social change. That’s why progressive companies are fundamentally re-thinking their approach to charitable efforts. They are moving from handouts and grants to more strategic social investments. There is no good reason why responsible businesses in the Caribbean should do otherwise.

Re-Thinking CSR

“Doing well by doing good” is one of today’s fashionable business mantras. Businesses have eagerly adopted the jargon of “embedding” CSR in the core of their operations, “activating the social conscious” and making it “part of the corporate DNA” to impact all company decisions. However, in too many cases, the CSR rhetoric falls well short of the reality.

bevil_wooding2.jpg
Bevil Wooding is the chief knowledge officer of Congress WBN, a values-based, international charity and the executive director of BrightPath Foundation, a technology education non-profit organization. Reach him on Twitter @bevilwooding or on facebook.com/bevilwooding or contact via email
According to Michael Porter, a global authority on competitive strategy and economic development, despite a surge of interest in CSR, in most cases it remains “too unfocused, too shotgun, too many supporting someone's pet project with no real connection to the business”.

Too often, executives see charitable efforts as disconnected from their real business efforts rather than inextricably linked to business success. However, when this thinking changes and the connection is made, social dollars can be used differently. The result -- a potentially transformative effect for the businesses, and for society as well. Some companies are already heading in this direction, guiding their staff to use their unique skill sets to drive social change.

For example, Deloitte, the largest professional services network in the world by revenue and by the number of professionals, pledged $110 million of staff time to pro bono work, and hundreds of companies have joined A Billion + Change, pledging to use their skill sets to drive social good.

Other major companies are beginning to follow this path, including Wells Fargo, one of the largest banks in the US, and Walmart, the largest retailer and the biggest private employer in the world with over two million employees. Both firms have done significant work to develop responsible supply chains, and to invest in development of the communities they impact.

From PR Events to Social Initiatives

The most basic form of CSR is traditional corporate philanthropy. Companies typically allocate about 1% of pre-tax profits to social causes. But for companies, and for the communities they touch, such arm's-length philanthropy -- simply writing cheques to charities -- is just not enough anymore.

Companies should seek to go beyond simply sponsoring events, to investing in social initiatives. People want to know that the companies they work for and the brands they support care enough to invest in the communities they impact, over the long-haul.

Forward thinking companies are increasingly engaging in more strategic social efforts. Why? Research shows consumers will pay a premium for socially responsible products. But there are other motivators - consumers are now more likely to punish firms who focus more on public relations than on actual social impact.

Employee engagement and retention is also on the line when it come supporting causes staff care about. A study from the Jackson Organization, a survey research consultancy, shows, “companies that effectively appreciate employee value enjoy a return on equity and assets more than triple that experienced by firms that don’t.”

The Value of Good Business

Clearly, there's solid business reasoning for companies to integrate a values-based strategy, and more importantly, to live up to it. But this justification is not yet unequivocal, or else everyone would be doing it. Debates over core-business versus potentially distracting, do-gooder activities continue in executive suites and boardrooms the world over. This is not all that surprising.

The business of trying to be good presents executives with difficult questions. How do you measure CSR performance? Should you develop strategic alliances with non-profit groups, and collaborative partnerships with competitors? Is there really competitive advantage to be had from investing in community empowerment? Do charitable investments in education and social programs actually, measurably contribute to a more stable market? These are all relevant questions, that demand focused leadership attention.

The advocates of soft-benefits like employee-happiness, customer-satisfaction, or brand-loyalty do not always find a welcomed place beside the hard-numbers disciples of sales, profits and returns-on-investment.

However, corporate social responsibility ought not to be about making decisions only when there is an obvious business return. True corporate responsibility is about making the long-term investment that building ethical, values-based organisations resourced by inspired employees, will boost productivity, improve service delivery and strengthen the wider markets and society in which the business exists.

The data and real-world examples show that those who invest in truly good-works can create businesses that customers, shareholders and stakeholders can trust. Even if it costs in the short-term, the long-term business and social benefits make the investment worthwhile. Now, that’s good business.
 
Reads: 1398





Click here to receive daily news headlines from Caribbean News Now!



Back...

Comments:

No comments on this topic yet. Be the first one to submit a comment.

Back...

Send us your comments!  

Send us your comments on this article. All fields are required.

For your contribution to reach us, you must (a) provide a valid e-mail address and (b) click on the validation link that will be sent to the e-mail address you provide.  If the address is not valid or you don't click on the validation link, we will never see it!

Your Name:

Your Email:

(Validation required)

Comments:
Enter Code





Disclaimer
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment author and are not representative of Caribbean News Now or its staff. Caribbean News Now accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Caribbean News Now reserves the right to remove, edit or censor any comments. Any content that is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will not be approved.
Before posting, please refer to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.



Other Headlines:



Regional Sports: