CSR (corporate social responsibility)
February 7, 2023

CSR (corporate social responsibility)

CSR is a company’s commitment to responsible and ethical business practices that benefit society and the environment.

What does CSR mean?

CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility. It is a company’s commitment to responsible and ethical business practices that benefit society and the environment. CSR initiatives can include improving working conditions, investing in local communities, reducing carbon emissions, and minimising waste.

What is CSR in the workplace?

Corporate Social Responsibility in the workplace is a business practice in which companies integrate social and environmental concerns into their operations and interactions with their stakeholders. CSR is often seen as a way for businesses to go beyond simply making profits and investing in their communities.

What is the main role of CSR?

The prominent role of Corporate Social Responsibility is to create and maintain an organisation’s positive brand image and reputation by making a positive difference in the wider community. CSR also involves engaging with stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and local communities, to ensure that the organisation’s actions benefit all parties.

CSR examples

Ford Motor Company: In 2020, Ford Motor Company joined a collective of companies in launching the “We Choose to Reimagine” campaign, a commitment to investing in communities and creating a more equitable and just society. Ford committed to investing $1 billion over the next five years in programs to fight systemic racism and inequality. 

Patagonia: Patagonia has a 1% for the planet program, which donates 1% of all sales to environmental causes, and is actively involved in numerous conservation and sustainability initiatives. They have also implemented labour standards and ethical sourcing policies to ensure their products are manufactured responsibly. Additionally, they are members of the Fair Labor Association and are dedicated to using organic and recycled materials in their products wherever possible.

Air New Zealand: AirNZ demonstrates its commitment to corporate social responsibility through its commitment to sustainability. The company has implemented a range of initiatives to reduce its environmental impact, such as reducing carbon dioxide emissions, increasing fuel efficiency, and introducing a fleet of electric-powered aircraft. It has also launched a global campaign to reduce single-use plastics, committed to the United Nations Global Compact, and established a dedicated customer sustainability team.

What are the 8 principles of CSR?

1. Accountability

2. Transparency

3. Respect

4. Act with integrity

5. Ethical behaviour

6. Respect for stakeholders

7. Respect for rule of law

8. Respect for human rights

9. Environmental responsibility 

Why is CSR important for a company?

Maxine Attong, author and executive coach, says “CSR initiatives allow companies to stand out from the rest by showing their commitment or interest in a cause, a community, or a particular segment of the population that they want to serve. The belief is that companies can create a ripple effect that brings about wider change, by positively impacting one part of the [social or physical] environment. This is a way of ‘giving back’ to the community or a way of giving voice or visibility to an underserved part of the population.”

CSR is essential for companies because it helps them to build trust with customers, attract and retain a loyal workforce, and differentiate themselves from competitors. It enables companies to demonstrate a commitment to their stakeholders, such as employees, customers, suppliers, and the environment, by taking responsibility for the impact of their decisions and activities on society and the environment. CSR is also important for companies because it can help to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and gain access to new markets.

What are the 6 stages of CSR?

1. Awareness: Understanding and acknowledging the importance of CSR and its potential to benefit the company, its stakeholders, and the community. 

2. Commitment: Commit to implementing a CSR program and define the scope of the program. 

3. Planning: Develop a plan to identify the CSR objectives, strategies, and activities that the company will undertake. 

4. Implementation: Launching and managing the CSR program with the involvement of stakeholders. 

5. Communication: Communicate programs and results of CSR activities to stakeholders. 

6. Evaluation: Measure and regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the CSR program and make changes to improve it.

How can companies measure their CSR performance?

Set measurable CSR goals: Companies should set specific and quantifiable CSR goals that align with their core values and business objectives. 

Develop a CSR report: Companies should develop and publish a yearly CSR report outlining their successes and failures in meeting their CSR goals. 

Use survey tools: Companies can use survey tools to measure the impact of their CSR initiatives on customers, employees, and other stakeholders. 

Monitor social media: Companies can use social media monitoring tools to measure how the public receives their CSR initiatives. 

Track financial results: Companies should track their financial performance to see how their CSR initiatives impact their bottom line. 

Track employee engagement: Companies should measure employee engagement to gauge the success of their CSR initiatives. 

Analyse customer feedback: Companies should analyse customer feedback to evaluate the effectiveness of their CSR initiatives.

What are the different types of CSR initiatives? 

According to Harvard Business School, there are four main types of CSR:

  1. Environmental responsibility: Implementing green initiatives, reducing carbon emissions, conserving water and energy, and investing in renewable energy sources. 
  2. Ethical responsibility: Adopting fair labour practices, ensuring a safe and healthy work environment, investing in employee education and development, and promoting diversity and inclusion. 
  3. Philanthropy responsibility: Donating to causes, supporting organisations and initiatives, and hosting fundraising events. 
  4. Economic responsibility: businesses ensure they are looking to simply maximise profits, but make sure the business operations positively impact the environment, people, and society.

What is the role of stakeholders in CSR? 

Stakeholders play an essential role in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. They provide input and feedback on CSR activities, help companies identify areas for improvement, and hold companies accountable for their actions. They can also help build trust between a company and its customers, employees, and other stakeholders by ensuring CSR initiatives align with its values and goals. Furthermore, according to Harvard Law, CSR reports can be a vital tool  to inform stakeholders how a company has addressed or is addressing stakeholders’ CSR concerns and incorporating them into the company’s strategic decision-making processes.

What are the benefits of implementing CSR?

Improved reputation and brand recognition: Implementing CSR initiatives can help to improve an organisation’s reputation and increase its visibility in the public eye. This can help to attract and retain customers, as well as create a more positive brand image. 

Increased customer loyalty: Consumers are increasingly looking for companies that are taking meaningful action to address social and environmental issues. Organisations that demonstrate a commitment to CSR often gain an edge regarding customer loyalty and retention. 

Improved employee engagement: CSR initiatives can be a great way to engage and motivate employees by giving them a sense of purpose and helping them to feel connected to the company’s values. 

Increased profitability: Studies have shown that companies that adopt CSR initiatives often experience increased profits, as customers are willing to pay more for products associated with socially responsible companies. 

Access to new markets: Demonstrating a commitment to CSR can open up new markets, as customers in certain countries may be more likely to purchase from socially responsible companies.

What are the challenges of implementing CSR? 

Limited resources: Most companies have limited resources, so they cannot always allocate enough funds towards CSR initiatives. This can make it challenging to implement effective programs. 

Lack of expertise: Many companies do not have the necessary expertise to implement initiatives properly. This can lead to ineffective programs or even failure. 

Lack of knowledge: Many consumers and stakeholders are unaware of the importance of CSR initiatives, which can make it difficult for companies to generate support for their initiatives or even communicate the goals and objectives of their CSR programs. 

Unclear ROI: Measuring CSR initiatives’ return on investment (ROI) can be challenging, as the benefits may be intangible or long-term. 

Compliance challenges: CSR initiatives must comply with local and international regulations. This can be challenging, especially for global companies operating in multiple jurisdictions.

How can companies communicate their CSR initiatives?

Publish annual reports: Publishing annual reports is one of the most effective ways to communicate a company’s CSR initiatives. The report should contain detailed information about the company’s social and environmental efforts, such as the amount of money invested in CSR activities, the number of people who benefited from them, and the progress made in reducing the company’s environmental impact. Annual reports can be shared with stakeholders in print and digital formats.

Social media: Sharing stories of CSR initiatives on social media channels allows companies to reach a broad audience and create a positive brand image. 

Blogs and websites: Creating a blog or dedicated page on their website advocating for CSR initiatives. This will allow companies to provide more in-depth information about their CSR activities and create a deeper connection with their audience. 

Marketing campaigns: Incorporating CSR initiatives into marketing campaigns will help generate more awareness for the company and its social responsibility efforts. 

Share success stories: Sharing stories of the company’s successes in implementing CSR initiatives. This will help to show the company’s commitment to social responsibility and attract potential customers.


In conclusion, CSR is a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes. It can help build customer trust and loyalty, improve employee engagement, and increase brand recognition and awareness. By taking a proactive approach to CSR, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to social and environmental responsibility, positively impacting their communities and the world.