CSR vs. Charity (local case)

After a year of coming back to the country, I`m sharing personal observations about general corporate social responsibility (CSR) environment in the country. Now several corporate figures, regulatory bodies, might doubt hearing corporate social responsibility has nothing or very small-scale to do with charity. And the good news Azerbaijan is not the only country in the world having this view. The majority of the countries are in the same boat. To figure it out, let`s review first what CSR is not:

  • Buying furniture, computers, microbuses, and refurbishing
  • Giving merit scholarships to students
  • Funding medical treatment of individuals

The list can be prolonged, but long story short – the funds or goods are allocated for the individual needs and charitable giving without follow up are not at all CSR strategy.

Today corporate social responsibility means much beyond essential charitable activities of the past. It is not solely about making a donation towards good causes but instead, it is an all-year-round responsibility that requires companies switch to serve the community (including internal), its business, workers, customers, and other related stakeholders. CSR should interact with corporate values, culture and the company’s strategy to achieve its future sustainability. It is likely more of “people were starving in the past, people are starving at present, but in lieu of handing out them a bread for today, teach them or help them to eradicate poverty.”

A few weeks ago, the conversation with a fellow lead to the topic of how a big holding failed because of advancing in wrong organizational behavior concept. Later long proper investigation displayed reason of cataclysm deriving from more internal disintegration rather than financial breakdown.

The scale of a company is defined not only by the input but also by its butterfly effect: the impact we make to the world in which we operate, and the contribution we make to continuous professional development, as noted above. It is an ambitious vision that CSR in its modern sense demands a business to engage responsibly taking into account their economic, social and environmental impacts, and to act to address their key sustainable continuous development challenges. In the case where the corporate struggling with organizational behavior, charity can be pointed out as part of the big picture while it would be less important for the long ride strategy.

No doubt that today there are several definitions of CSR worldwide but nowadays they all associate to how business takes account of its economic, social and environmental impacts in the way it functions and maximizes cost reduction. Thinking about how organizations evolve, how adaptation enables “survival of the fittest” is an analogy that has helped business strategists. Increasingly, it is becoming important to measure success through working in partnerships with different stakeholders. Charity can be an important part of CSR, which signifies a corporation’s contribution to the community where it does business.

One source argues dimension of CSR begins where the law ends. This ties down with the notion of citizenship. A good citizen is not merely someone who conducts his or her life without breaking the laws. It is someone who contributes to society in a beneficial way and avoids doing harm. Businesses can be good citizens, provided that they relate ethically to other citizens – and particularly to their stakeholders.

Thanks to the newbie startups coming to the national stage and their origins of changing the game, a fresh glimpse of air has been felt in the existing environment.Startups are diving into for counseling in creating a social responsibility plan and dealing with the emerging issues that engage employees in meaningful causes and still responsible for business practices in operations.

Another concern is Millennials` movement from the country to Multinational Corporations (MNCs) with stronger values. Millennials in one survey also assume businesses are behaving in an increasingly responsible manner. On balance, Millennials still suppose that businesses focus on their own agendas. If no progress will be made in local businesses, not only Millennials` foot will be out of the door, but Generation Y will be part of expatriation movement too.

CSR doc
Deloitte 2016 survey

Notwithstanding, where the problems exist, there is a tremendous opportunity and the other side of coin foresees there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Lean strategy, unity around strong values, full interaction with a different section of stakeholders and the transparent environment can be good for the success to knock the door of corporates.

Without comparing it back to Swiss corporate standards, (although reality does sound as an adjustment from Ferrari to Zaaparozhes), CSR is still going to be figured out by many. However, if corporates efforts are towards sustainable businesses, proper CSR will lead the company to innovation and social impact beyond their glossy reports. In order to form conventional CSR strategy at the local level, there is a need for unique regulation to be set off, improvement and measurement of sustainable performance, fostering awareness, learning, and cooperation.


Gunay Mukhtarova

Please raise your voice if a company you work for carrying different values apart from charity. Share your opinion and let`s have a discussion!

Read other articles here.

Goal #13

They say if you can explain it in a simple way to kids, you can make it for everyone

The number 13 often remains as a poor number for being not so lucky in line with superstitious and religious reason.  Surprising enough, climate change which sounds still suspicious for some people comes under number 13 in Global Goals. If we look at the SDGs all at once, we could see the patterns of each segments bonding to each other. The correlation of climate derived issues includes the goals related to the health of individuals till building sustainable communities, in a broader term – sustainable cities and finally it ends with global alarm sometimes neglecting root effect. Below are simplified GG30 goals of that are more essential to climate change.

1.Public Health #3 ( Good health and well being)

While trying to draw the big picture of climate change,  let`s look at it from a different angle. If you think a 1 or 2°C rise matters to the health, then yes, better continue reading. One reason for the large increase in the number of heat extremes directly brings a new pace of pollution and the rest you obviously might forecast.  World Health Organisation (WHO) is sure that, if we bring down air pollution, it would cut rates of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, asthma and respiratory disease.

Ozone at outdoor level – which varies to the ozone layer in the atmosphere – forms when sunlight reacts with air pollutants. So, high ozone levels happen when it is radiant and can pull out asthma attacks and breathing problems. Nitrogen dioxide is a result of combustion (burning fuel for heat, power, engines and ships) and has a side effect on lung function, mainly in children with asthma. Sulphur dioxide is a colourless gas released when sulphur-containing fossil fuels are heated to compose heat and power. Elevated levels cause eye irritation, breathing issues and an increase in hospital admissions and mortality among people with heart disease.

2.Clean Water and Sanitation #6

While some countries take their the water resources for granted, some countries are in big demand to the water supply. In this case, climate change reduces the predictability of water availability and increase the likelihood of damage and disruption to drinking water and sanitation infrastructure.

Water supply and sanitation are affected by climate change and have an impact on climate change.The carbon footprint of water supply and sanitation – through energy deployed in for example in pumping,  – can be crucial.

3. Reduced Inequalities #10

One of the recent immigration challenges derives from climate change as well. Human-caused emissions are heating the globe, which is melting the glaciers and leading to global sea levels rising at about 3 millimeters (a tenth of an inch) per year. According to a new study that analyzed aerial satellite images from 1947 to 2014, five islands in the Solomons have sunk totally in that period, and another six have gone between 20% and 60% of their land zone. This is only a small part of the sinking lands worldwide. People are leaving their homes massively in order to find new life in new lands. Unfortunately, those that make it to a new land, their integration in a new society does not happen warm enough or in best scenario the process of social, economic and political inclusion delays which is opposite of one-lifetime universal declaration rights for everyone.

People are experiencing the significant impacts of climate change in one of the mentioned above case or in a different way. It lives among us and it has always been there. Without action, the world’s average surface temperature is foreseen to rise over the 21st century and is presumable to raise over 3 degrees Celsius this century—with some areas of the world suspected to warm even more.


Affordable, scalable solutions are now available to allow countries to shift to cleaner, more resilient economies. The pace of change is fastening as more people are turning to renewable energy and a range of other measures that will decrease emissions and rise adaptation efforts.

Adaptation measures should take this into account. Single measures, such as demand management and leakage minimization, have some potential to benefit to both mitigations of adverse impact and transformation of technologies and systems to increase resilience. Improved planning procedures and the development and utility of new technologies will support conversion and mitigation in answering to multiple
unfavorable impacts, not just those from climate change alone.

Since climate change is a global challenge that does not know national borders, emissions impacts people everywhere. It is an issue that requires solutions that need to be well harmonized at the international level and it requires international cooperation to drive countries to move to a low-carbon economy.


Got thrilled? Learn more about it by watching the full version after seeing the trailer Before the Flood.