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The Concept of CSR

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Introduction

The term CSR refers to a company's obligation to maximise its positive impact on society, accommodating changing social, market & stakeholder pressures in an effort to achieve sustainable economic, social & environmental development throughout its operations and activities. CSR puts expectations, continuous improvement & innovation at the heart of business strategies and the four dimensions of social responsibility are generally considered to be economic, legal, ethical & philanthropic. Approaches to CSR are varied and due to the differences in priorities & values across the world, there is no "one size fits all" strategy. Where previously, the role of a socially responsible company was simply to create good will in the community, organisations are now required to take into account the full scope of their impact on communities & the environments in which they work, balancing the needs of stakeholders with the need to make a profit. Although there is no one size fits all strategy, well managed CSR programmes have universal benefits; o Increase Profit o Enhance business competitiveness& opportunities o Maximise value of wealth creation to society o Can improve financial performance & access to capital o Enhance brand image, raise profile & boost sales o Attract & retain quality workforce, o Improve decision-making on critical issues o Helps manage risks & reduce long-term costs o Increases customer loyalty o Increases productivity & quality The growth of CSR has been influenced by many factors. ...read more.

Middle

Marks & Spencer measures and reports its performance and is rated number one by Greenpeace on avoiding GM food, Friends of the Earth on pesticide reduction, the Marine Conservation Society on fish sourcing and Accountability/Insight Investment on labour standards. The organisation has also been named as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index most sustainable retailer in the world for the last 2 years. Achievements * One of the few retailers to be publicly calling for and contributing to a new, tougher approach to chemical regulation. * The only retailer supporting an innovative and successful approach to fisheries management * The only retailer able to engage civil liberties groups on the issue of using microchips to track products in supply chains. * A world leader at managing labour standards in supply chains, working with suppliers & their workers to develop a mutually beneficial approach * Establishing a new flagship community programme (Marks & Start) - the biggest work experience programme of its kind in the UK As McDonalds is the largest and most advertised fast food service corporation in the world, the pressure for them to operate in a socially responsible way is enourmous. McDonalds state in their CSR Report that 'Social responsibility is an essential part of their core values' & that the organsation 'Incorporate good citizenship into their corporate and business strategy... ...read more.

Conclusion

As a result all aspects of the marketing mix (product, promotion, price & place) need to be adapted to ensure ethics are addressed. Reputation is one of an organisations most valuable assets & CSR/ethical behaviour are key components of reputation. Competitive differentiators such as price, quality, service and brand are not enough as poor reputation & bad publicity can damage a company's brand rendering price, quality and service irrelevant. With the benefits of CSR being increasingly recognised worldwide & the pressure to be good corporate citizens pushing organisations to go further than simple compliance with regulations or best practice, the future of CSR is bright. Businesses are understanding that long term success is achieved through market-oriented, responsible behaviour and that their future depends upon determining what governments, competitors and society want & incorporating CSR polcies into organisational business models, adapting values & business operations. Issues such as human rights & sustainable development will require to be focused upon in the coming years, organisations will have to understand the importance of what & how they measure & how they react to the data they collect. As CSR is here to stay & its importance will continue to heighten, organisations have no choice but to embrace CSR if they are to survive & develop in todays business environment. ...read more.

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