Have you ever wondered how your job and your workplace impact the world around you?

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Every company's actions have an effect on the community around it, and sometimes on the entire world.

Ben and Jerry's, an ice-cream company, say,

A good company, business, organization, or corporation will consider those actions and do their best to be socially responsible.

What is "Corporate Social Responsibility"?

According to the United Nations Global Compact, corporate social responsibility, or "CSR", "means operating in ways that, at a minimum, meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption." 

Apple computer monitor says Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

In other words, money is not the only consideration when a business does business. Companies should consider their stakeholders as well as their impact on the communities and environment around them.

Two hands in a handshake. Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

What are some examples of CSR?

  • Donations to worthy causes

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  • Sponsorships and scholarships for local community members

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  • Social initiatives, such as using local suppliers and supporting community goals

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  • Environmental efforts, such as improved energy efficiency and waste reduction

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  • Workplace efforts, such as increasing workplace health and safety, and developing a code of ethics against discrimination

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Why Should Corporations Be Responsible?

A company, corporation, organization, or business is really just a group of people working together to do something! Whatever these groups do affects the communities around them.

A factory's pipe smokes in the distance in a small city. Photo by Moritz Lüdtke on Unsplash

If these entities are thoughtful about their actions, the benefits can be:

Internal (company)

A happy man works at a laptop.

  • Happier, more productive employees

  • Fewer employees leave the company

  • Lower costs for production

A hand holding a bag of money.

External (community)

7 diverse people with a heart over their heads.

  • Enhanced community support

  • Increased customer loyalty

  • Reduced waste

All trash gets recycled!

What Can Employees Do?

Robert Downey Jr. says,

There are 4 questionsyou can ask:

Question 1: What is your organization doing right now?

Thumbs up, good job!

Current efforts could be:

  • Offering scholarships for local students to attend a trade school.

  • Using the services of responsible vendors and local businesses.

Question 2: What could your organization do better?

Employee is thinking. Possible future efforts could be:

  • Reducing waste by reducing plastic packaging on products.

  • Sponsoring a volunteer trash clean-up at a local park.

Question 3: What could your organization do first?

Sometimes, changing a company’s routines and processes can be hard. Finding the change that most people can and will make can be effective.

Reusable coffee mug

Some quick changes could be:

  • Switching from plastic silverware to bamboo or reusable silverware.

  • Encouraging employees to bring reusable coffee mugs to the office.

Long-term changes may require an action plan.

Question 4: How will your organization know that a change is helping?

It’s not always easy to see the impact changes have right away. Creating metrics, or measurements of progress, can help you see it!

Meter measures progress Metrics could be:

  • Measuring how much less trash is created after employees start to bring their own mugs.

  • Comparing the number of customers who use your business before and after the volunteer clean-up.

  • Seeing how many scholarship students finish their trade schooling and come to work for the company, or in the same field.

Quiz: What Can Hassan Do?

Let’s help someone make his workplace more socially and environmentally friendly.

Hassan just started his job as a manager in a packaging plant. He notices that other workers sometimes use large boxes for small items, which wastes a lot of packing material.  

Hassan holds a box upside down and a small object falls out. (Image by storyset on Freepik)

Hassan also notices that the packing material they use to fill each box is made of plastic.

Bubble wrap in a box. Photo by Wander Fleur on Unsplash

What can Hassan do? 

A)   Ask why large boxes are used for small items.

B)   Suggest they switch packing material from plastic to paper.

C)   Start using old rags as packing material to reduce waste.

D)   Stock some smaller boxes in the packing area. 


Select all that apply.

Take Action

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can start with small steps made by caring employees. 

Red sign says, Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

What can your workplace do to be more socially and environmentally responsible?


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