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The Evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance

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Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) ties businesses to communities and helps them stay relevant to their customers and society. While larger companies will cover CSR and Corporate Governance (CG), startups and smaller players may not. Therefore, this article examines how SME owners and managers can capitalize on good CSR in 2024.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a company’s responsibility to its stakeholders outside shareholders. It includes an organization’s ethical and moral responsibilities towards the community in which it operates. With the increased focus on sustainability, companies must demonstrate that they positively impact society. This is commonly referred to as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The idea behind CSR is that businesses are responsible not just to their shareholders but also to the communities in which they operate and the world. Its mission statement and strategic plan show an organization’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility. For a company to achieve this, it must align its values, vision, strategy, and activities with principles of social responsibility. This article explores these concepts and explains how they can be implemented inside an organization.

What Is Corporate Governance (CG)?

Corporate governance is the framework that stakeholders use to manage the business at a high level. In a business environment, all stakeholders must have a good working relationship for the company to succeed. To make that happen, corporate governance is a set of processes for overseeing how decisions are settled, executed, and communicated between critical shareholders, including investors, management, staff, and clients.

Without corporate governance, rogue decisions and activities and illegal activities like fraud and embezzlement can go unnoticed. Good corporate governance can also be the leading force in settling investor and management disagreements, plus scandals, liabilities, and what to do when a company’s performance is dire.

Why Practice Corporate Social Responsibility?

The most significant benefit of practising Corporate Social Responsibility is that it makes sense for a business to seek ways to help society and the environment. After all, these are the environments where companies operate and flourish.

Higher Brand Equity

Companies that practice social responsibility also enjoy financial benefits. For example, socially responsible brands often have higher brand equity than those that do not. Customers are likelier to purchase products from companies that contribute to the greater good. They may be more willing to pay a higher price because they appreciate the company’s social impact.

Attract Top Talent

Companies that practice social responsibility are likely to attract top talent because young generations expect their employers to contribute to the greater good. It also helps to create a positive brand image that may lead customers to purchase products from these brands.

Attract Customers

Lastly, it is essential to note that many governments have started to make social responsibility a business requirement. Companies that do not contribute to the greater good are disadvantaged, and customers choose to purchase from socially responsible brands.

CSR Strategy Planning

The first step in practising corporate social responsibility is to develop a strategy. A strategy outlines the company’s long-term goals and objectives. This can include the desired levels of investment in the community and how the company hopes to positively impact society. It is essential to use a structured approach to developing your CSR strategy, and this can be done by answering questions such as

  • Where is the organization currently?
  • Where does it want to be?
  • What is the strategy to get there?

The answers help to ensure that the strategy is both practical and meaningful. Once the system has been developed, it must be implemented throughout every department and level of the company. It will help ensure that every decision the company makes is socially responsible.

Employee Engagement and Care

Companies that practice social responsibility often offer their employees benefits based on social responsibility. For example, some companies offer paid maternity leave, paid family leave, and health insurance.

Some companies even offer benefits to employees’ dependents, such as coverage for therapy services or childcare costs. This can go a long way in helping employees feel appreciated and valued. It can also help recruit talent committed to making a difference.

A company can also support its employees by offering flexible work hours and work-from-home options. These benefits can promote family-friendly practices and make employees’ lives easier. It can also help to recruit employees who may need special accommodations.

Responsible Supply Chain Management

A company can demonstrate social responsibility by managing its supply chain responsibly, and this can include:

  • Ensuring employees are treated fairly and paid a living wage
  • Making efforts to source products ethically and sustainably

Companies producing their products can take additional steps to promote social responsibility. For example, brands that create shoes can take steps to make them ethically and sustainably. This can include using sustainable materials and paying employees living wages. It can also include making efforts to improve working conditions in overseas factories.

A company can also use its purchasing power to promote social responsibility. This can be a great way to impact the supply chain without having direct control over all aspects of production. For example, a company can try to source its products from socially responsible and sustainable sources.

Environment Protection

A company can promote social responsibility by making efforts to protect the environment. It can do this by reducing its carbon footprint and investing in environmentally friendly practices. One way to reduce your carbon footprint is to reduce your energy consumption, and this can be achieved by:

  • Installing LED lights
  • Upgrading to more efficient appliances
  • Making other minor changes to your work environment, e.g., operating hot desks and remote working

A company can also reduce its waste footprint by investing in reusable products and shopping bags. It can also make efforts to reduce water pollution by treating and recycling wastewater. A company can also work with community partners to promote environmental sustainability and protect local ecosystems.

How Do CSR and CG Work Together?

Corporate governance and corporate social responsibility are two sides of the same coin. Businesses with weak internal systems are unlikely to have an excellent external conscience. Stable corporate governance is essential for an outstanding corporate citizen.

The role of corporate governance in business is to establish the proper channels for the industry to run smoothly. Companies under fire for environmental pollution or employee abuse have poor corporate governance, which results in poor corporate social responsibility.

A business must have the proper integration of the two so it can lead to solving broader issues in the community and further afield—for example, solutions for generating economic stimulus that can save and create jobs. During the pandemic, corporations with good governance and CSR could quickly switch their offering to meet the community’s needs. General Motors changed from vehicles to ventilators, and other corporations also developed relevant products to address real-time community needs.

Business Adaptability

Businesses need to respond to rapid social change, including remote staff and business activity moving online. Laggard companies are slow to adopt new technologies and were pulled online by the pandemic. Today, customers can get answers via chatbots and purchase online via eCommerce gateways. Teams use Zoom for video conferencing, and social media platforms are now the front window of retail stores.

Use Social Media for Social Causes

Social media provides a relatable channel for businesses to communicate with communities and consumers. Using Facebook or Twitter to draw attention to social causes works well for all stakeholders. It is easy to promote events, inspire, get volunteers, drive meaningful objectives, and encourage philanthropic donations, and this action strengthens the business’s brand and creates a good relationship with consumers.


Corporate social responsibility is the concept that businesses are responsible for being good corporate citizens and positively impacting society. Companies need to understand that this is not just a nice thing to do but also a strategic business decision.

When a business fails to demonstrate social responsibility, it is at a disadvantage as governments increasingly require firms to be socially responsible.

There are many ways to push forward, and the timing suits all companies to bring together their corporate governance and social responsibility processes. Doing so can play a fundamental role in their business’s future success and the wider community when it most needs it.