Corporate Responsibility, also known as Corporate Social Responsibility, encourages organisations to self-regulate by looking at the full range of stakeholder interests and integrating them into the business model. Used as a built-in control, organisations can monitor and ensure their conformity with legislation, ethical standards and international good practice. By taking responsibility for their impacts on the environment, consumers, employees, the community, direct stakeholders and other elements of the public sphere in a strategic and planned manner, organisations can demonstrate inclusion of the public interest in corporate decision making. They can also promote the public interest by engaging with the community, encouraging growth and development and discontinuing harmful practices on a voluntary basis regardless of legal obligations.
Improved relationships with stakeholders, greater transparency on the issues needing to be managed and closer links with consumers can lead to greater competitiveness, more efficiency and enhanced reputation.
To benefit fully an organisation needs to consider the needs and demands of each category of stakeholder and then plan its activities to address and minimise any harmful impacts in a balanced manner. Where possible, any beneficial impacts and advantages should be developed. Considerations might include the following small number of examples: -
Analyse the environmental aspects/impacts of goods and services throughout their life cycle and setting objectives to improve performance by minimising negative ones and investing in those that are positive.
Understanding the effects the local and wider community, such as nuisance and transport, but also economic contribution, particularly influence in the form of jobs and local purchases.
Ethics and human rights
Carefully considering decisions that might be seen as exploitation for profitable gain and recognising the rights of individuals to liberty, free speech and personal safety.
Good employment policies and their social impact need to be recognised and applied, especially issues such as diversity and equal opportunity. Ensuring a safe and healthy workplace, not just meeting the minimum requirements of the law should be normal practice.
For commercial organisations the requirements of all stakeholders need to be addressed within the constraint of operating a profitable activity that satisfies the return desired by owners, shareholders and other financiers. It must also ensure future investment, part of which is presenting respect for morality and good practice that investors wish to be associated with.
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