“Corporate Social Responsibility and business” “Journée de la PME/PMI Responsable”
“Corporate Social Responsibility and business”
“Journée de la PME/PMI Responsable”
29 avril 2016, Chambre de Commerce, Yaoundé Cameroon
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) involves business taking account of its economic, social, health, safety and environmental impacts in the way it operates, in order to ensure a better quality of life for everyone today, and for future generations. It is about meeting more demanding social and environmental expectations while improving business performance.
For a company’s initiatives to be defines as CSR in nature, it must meet certain standards, such as:
Initiatives should go beyond common regulatory and conventional compliance;
Interaction should exist with the stakeholders e.g customers, suppliers, partners and the community;
Social and environmental impacts for example minimising pollution, waste and nuisance to neighbours, should be integrated into business operations;
Health and safety issues, good conditions of work and equal opportunity, as well as high standards of professionalism due to its high risk occupations for workplace accidents should be considered.
In a society where every aspect of business has to be geared towards productivity and growth of the organisation, there exist immense benefits to business from implementing a good CSR. These benefits can be grouped under internal and external stake holders:
a. External stakeholders(e.g. nearby communities, customers, insurance companies, banks)
Activities such as involvement with the local community are ideal opportunities to generate positive press coverage;
CSR can make you more competitive and reduces the risk of sudden damage to your reputation (and sales);
Improves relationships with local authorities; good relationships with local authorities make doing business easier;
Understanding the wider impact of your business can help you develop new products and services;
It Discourages Government Regulation; when the government is fully aware that a company operates in a responsible manner and respects their social responsibilities to the community where they operate, government becomes discouraged to regulate business;
Consumers are often drawn to brands and companies with good reputations in CSR related issues;
A company regarded as socially and environmentally responsible can also benefit from its reputation within the business community by having increased ability to attract capital, investors, insurance and trading partners. An increasing number of mutual funds are now integrating CSR criteria into their selection processes due to its link to business security.
b. Internal stakeholders(shareholders, employees, contractors, visitors)
A good reputation makes it easier to recruit employees;
Employees are better motivated and more productive;
CSR helps to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements;
Reduction in Operation Costs; the process of adopting CSR principles motivates executives to reconsider their business practices and to seek more efficient ways of operating. For example, reducing packaging material or planning the optimum route for delivery trucks not only reduces the environmental impact of a company’s operation, but it also reduces the cost;
Companies perceived to have a strong CSR commitment often have an increased ability to attract and to retain employees which leads to reduced turnover, recruitment and training costs;
A key potential benefit from CSR initiatives involves establishing the conditions that can contribute to increasing the loyalty, commitment and motivation of employees to become more innovative and productive to not only reduce costs, but to also spot and take advantage of new opportunities for maximising benefits. It reduces absenteeism and may also translate into marginally less demands for higher wages
Strategic employment policies to implement and improve CSR at the workplace.
It is important for business to recognize the importance and value of their employees and managing talent within their organizations as a priority. The following strategic employment policies will not only comply with relevant legislation, but also seek to ensure that the working environment within all areas of the business embraces diversity, offers fairness and equality of opportunity in every respect. These policies include:
Everyone should be treated fairly with honesty and respect at every stage of the recruitment process.
Training and development; Appropriate training should be offered to all employees in order to assist and empower them within their daily work.
The company should pay a fair wage for a fair day’s work.
Diversity and equal opportunities
Diversity should be embraced and viewed as strength within the business.
The company should have robust anti-discrimination policies and any allegation of discrimination should be taken seriously and dealt with accordingly.
Family friendly working policies
The importance of all employees should be recognised, including those who are working parents and the rights of working parents should be valued and upheld.
The company should be keen to harness the potential of all of employees and actively encourage and support all those who demonstrate talent and wish to progress within the organisation.
Employee consultation and internal communications
Communication with employees should be a priority. Companies should actively seek opportunities to engage with their staff, feedback from our employees should be welcomed and suggestions listened to carefully.
Health & Safety in the workplace
The Health & Safety of employees, visitors and contractors is vital, the appropriate investment should be made in equipment and training to ensure that accidents and injuries are avoided. The working environment should be safe and pleasant.
(Bih TOSAM) ACC, Energy and Environment Commission