Mmegi Online :: Taking CSR to the next level
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Last Updated
Thursday 13 December 2018, 12:33 pm.
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Taking CSR to the next level

Traditionally organizations’ prime focus is to just do business.
By Ian Khama Tue 13 Nov 2018, 09:23 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Taking CSR to the next level








With the increased hype of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), organizations started to undertake certain CSR related activities whereby they undertake responsible activities independent  of their business operations, their impact on society and how they  affect society or can be affected by society.

This evolved into a more integrated approach  whereby organizations started to do what they do but doing it in a more responsible manner, that is, embedding societal considerations in their decision making processes.

A higher evolution finally led organizations to doing responsible things in a more responsible manner, a closer definition to what we now call today, ‘sustainability’.

It is no longer simply a matter of doing good things to society, or operating one’s business/organization in a responsible manner but a further step by integrating CSR with the organization’s objectives, creating a ‘virtuous cycle’ for all the stakeholders. This is a highly sustainable model as the success of the business is integrated with the CSR initiatives and there is high commitment from the business at all levels.

Corporate Social Responsibility is about the integration of social environmental and economic considerations into the decision making structures and process of business. It is about innovation to find creative and value added solutions to societal and environmental challenges.

It is about engaging shareholders and other stakeholders and collaborating with them to more effectively manage potential risks and build credibility and trust in society.  It is about taking account of society’s needs and finding more effective ways to satisfy existing anticipated demands in order to build more sustainable businesses.

Ultimately, it is about delivering improved shareholder and debt holder value, providing enhanced goods and services for customers, building trust and credibility In the society in which the business operates and becoming more sustainable over the longer term.

While there are different ways to frame the benefits because they are interrelated, they generally include the

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following;

(a) Stronger relationships with communities

(b)                        Stronger financial performance and profitability through

        operational efficiency gains

(c) Enhanced employee relations that yield retention,

        learning, innovation and productivity

(d)                        Improved relations with the investment community

Successful companies have become world-renowned for incorporating social causes and social initiatives into their cultures, their values and their business strategies. Increased customer preference for social responsibility points to the importance of understanding how this philosophy can enhance your business. In other words, is your company a good global citizen? How do you know? What can you do to improve your positioning? CSR commitment is the way to go.

Research has shown that integrating business strategy and corporate social responsibility contributes to;

(a) Positive brand awareness

(b)                        Increases employee satisfaction

(c) Improved community relations

(d)                        Reduces operational costs

 

Corporate Social Responsibility is therefore a strategic way to sustain the business of the organization. CSR goes a long way to enhance reputation, sustain the community in which the business operates, benefits customers and the public at large thereby affecting the planet, people and profits.

It is no longer acceptable for businesses to only consider profit as the main rationale for being in business, companies have to start giving accounts for their commitment to people, the environment and the society at large by implementing sustainable projects that address the needs of the society. This is a new acceptable way to do business.

These awards focus on recognizing, honoring and celebrating sustainable business practice and the significant contributions that CSR initiatives make to the economy and the society.

The awards seek to ensure compliance to best practice in CSR and sustainability, especially their impact-driven interventions and projects across the Botswana.

*IAN KHAMA is the former president of Botswana. He delivered the speech at Avani Gaborone Hotel and Casino recently during Botswana's first ever CSR AWARDS held under the theme - 'Taking CSR to the next level'

 

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