How Businesses can Give Back: Corporate Social Responsibility

When it comes to business, it is more than just the money. Rather it is about building and creating an entity that can make a transformational impact on its employees, its clients, and more importantly, its community. For years, financially driven businesses have been targeted and negatively criticized for their lack of commitment to the communities and neighborhoods around them. While it is unsurprising, the criticism geared towards the social responsibility aspect is something that many establishments outside of the nonprofit sector are taking very seriously.

Now, to truly understand this level of impact, we must first explore the concept of corporate social responsibility (CRS). When we discuss social responsibility, especially on the level for private sector businesses, the public tends to focus on the ethical and economic aspect of this issue. However, with a variety of different elements within the definition of corporate social responsibility, the intended message and act of philanthropy is often lost in translation even when big businesses do their part for the cause. Why? The answer is simple. Corporate social responsibility has a relatively vague definition. It allows for a multitude of acts such as charity events and mentorship programs to be consolidated under one simple umbrella. While each event and act plays has their own level of impact to XYZ cause, we cannot overlook the change that these businesses are doing for our communities.

To clarify any further misunderstandings, we must refine the overall definition and explanation of corporate responsibility. Now, first and foremost, there is a difference between corporate philanthropy and corporate responsibility. Many times, people internalize these two different entities as synonyms with one another. While they do share some commonalities, the concepts within each one are incredible unique. When defining corporate philanthropy, we are talking about an entity of corporate social responsibility. It is the ‘act’ and overall ‘engagement’ where big business companies contribute to nonprofit or community-based organizations through programs, mentorships, and charities. In comparison, corporate social responsibility is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a specific business model. To put it in more laymen terms, corporate social responsibility refers to a business practice that involves employees, specifically within the private sector, participating in initiatives that benefit society. This can encompass the philanthropic initiatives such as businesses donating money to charity or human advancement-like projects such as Elon Musk and his work with SolarCity. Whatever is the case, corporate social responsibility initiatives are meant for corporations to go above and beyond in impacting and transforming the social wellbeing of the public.

Now the one questions remains: How can corporate and private businesses play their role within the community.

With these corporations, it is clear that they have the necessary resources and findings to give back to the community. This can be either on a monetary scale or on a personal impact. Certain things these companies can and continue doing are building mentorship programs, donating funds or supplies to various nonprofit organization or charity programs, engaging employee volunteering, etc. These altruistic and ethical acts can shed light on a dark legacy that has hovered over field for years.


Originally published at johnpschwan.org.