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.

Author

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.

Young Champions

To the attention of young people between the ages of 18-30!
The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) has launched the Young Campions of the Earth global competition for talented people that can showcase technological inventions and innovative business models that improve our planet’s health.Six winners will receive $15,000 each to help bring their big ideas to life. More than just a prize-giving scheme, the winners will also have a unique opportunity to meet with noteworthy environmental experts and policymakers at UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi and UN General Assembly in New York.

We encourage all potential young people out there to apply!

The application period for this year’s competition closes on 18th June. Full details and the application form are available on: www.unep.org/youngchampions

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was established by the UN General in 1972, enabling cooperation of countries and international organizations towards addressing global, regional and national concerns in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development. e8a63295-634f-4a9b-851b-4290feb9cbd6