What is Social Responsibility?
Organisations around the world, and their stakeholders, are becoming increasingly aware of the need for and benefits of socially responsible behaviour. The objective of social responsibility is to contribute to sustainable development.
An organisation's performance in relation to the society in which it operates and to its impact on the environment has become a critical part of measuring its overall performance and its ability to continue operating effectively. This is, in part, a reflection of the growing recognition of the need to ensure healthy ecosystems, social equity and good organisational governance. In the long run, all organisations' activities depend on the health of the world's ecosystems.
Organisations are subject to greater scrutiny by their various stakeholders. The perception and reality of an organisation's performance on social responsibility can influence, among other things:
Its competitive advantage
Its ability to attract and retain workers or members, customers, clients or users
The maintenance of employees' morale, commitment and productivity
Identify paths to innovation
Reduce long term risks
Sustainable business for organisations means not only providing products and services that satisfy the customer, and doing so without jeopardising the environment, but also operating in a socially responsible manner. Pressure to do so comes from customers, consumers, governments, associations and the public at large. At the same time, far-sighted organisational leaders recognise that lasting success must be built on credible business practices and the prevention of activities such as fraudulent accounting and labour exploitation.
Sustainable development is growth and change that maintains and improves the natural environment, human resources, and society upon which we depend. Businesses that identify, maintain, and improve their natural and human resources are highly competitive. They are more able to cope with challenges in the marketplace. They can anticipate and reduce threats caused by environmental changes or natural disasters, and can better adapt to significant social changes. No business can predict the future perfectly; but smart businesses can plan for a future in which significant social and environmental changes occur. Businesses that contribute to a more sustainable society are more likely to be valued and supported by consumers, supply chains, and policy makers. ISO 26000 provides information and decision-making tools for businesses to identify ways they can improve their impacts on the people and places they work and live in, and thereby become more valuable and valued members of society.
The 7 Core Values of Social Responsibility
Practicing accountability and transparency at all levels of your organisation; using leadership to create an organisational culture which uses core values of social responsibility when making business decisions.
Treating all individuals with respect; making special efforts to help people from vulnerable groups.
Providing just, safe and healthy conditions for workers; engaging in two-way discussions to address workers’ concerns.
Identifying and improving environmental impacts of your operations, including resource use and waste disposal.
Fair operating practices
Respecting the law; practicing accountability and fairness in your dealings with other businesses, including your suppliers.
Providing healthy and safe products, giving accurate information, and promoting sustainable consumption.
Community involvement and development
Getting involved in the betterment of the local communities that your organisation operates in; being a good neighbour.