Corporate Social Responsibility

The Capital is Mine

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By Sylvia Gerssen

Capitalism - Living Income Guaranteed

 

We’re all trying to find ways to let the “Capital be Mine”, or better said, to let Capitalism work for us. Over the years we’ve been able to witness how that played out in all parts of our daily life. Proponents of Capitalism, as we know it today, say that greed has been used to place Capitalism within a pejorative context. When we look at the definition of Capitalism in the Merriam-Webster dictionary it’s written that Capitalism is an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market. Wikipedia adds the factor of profit as a characteristic of Capitalism when they say that this system in which trades, industries and the means of production are largely or entirely privately owned and operated for profit. That makes Capitalism into a deadly and doomed cocktail of competition and profit where the fittest will survive and the majority is submitted to wage labor and slaves of the components that are in power within society.

The 21th century is marked by Capitalism, which could work in theory and on paper, though we’re still slaves of masters as if we were still in times of Feudalism. Back in the Middle Ages between the 9th and 15th century we had Feudalism as our economic system, which was a way of structuring society around relationships, derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labor. We we’re not free citizens that were able to do exactly that what we wanted. When Capitalism emerged from Feudalism it looked like we had more freedom. We were all able to invest money in order to make a profit and become rich, which then resulted into wanting to make money through profit as an end in itself.

Capitalism which is an economic system has now almost turned into a religion, we believe strongly that one day the Capital will be ours on the back of another, if we follow the rules or rites of Capitalism. Free market processes will emerge where anything can be sold from a pair of panties to the air that we breathe and the water that we drink to stay alive. When we add the survival of the fittest to it we know we’ll be heading on the road to greed. Greed, that according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary means an intense desire for wealth or possessions. They add to not let greed for riches control you and that’s exactly what we’re controlled by, through denial or acceptance. Greed exists in all of us to a greater or lesser extent. Some of us can control it, others are out of control without any form of regret. We’re a product of our own Capitalistic product and we see it as normal, the norm to live by. We see money as our God to turn to and to comfort us. When we’re deprived of money we feel as if God is punishing us, we’re not worthy. So we need to become greedy, monsters without regret to become the fittest to survive.

This Capitalistic religion was carried out through the world by means of Globalization though Imperialism in the 19th century. Capitalism was spreading like an oil stain in the ocean and still a product that third world countries would like to have or invite to their country, without looking at the Trojan horse effect that Capitalism in fact has. When inviting Capitalism, the countries religion will be changed and it’s money will be worshipped from now on. It’s almost like a STD, first you indulge and enjoy before you can even grasp the consequences.

When we look at how we’ve given away our directive principle when it comes to money, and how most of us have become the 99% , we can see that institutes like banks are the pubic louses in our crotch that we allow to feast while thinking that we were the ones that had a great party. Capitalism by the means of Globalization has brought us a banking system that infected the entire Capitalistic system where we think that eternal growth is the norm and greed is a virtue. Our banking system consist of people, people who know that they can make fortunes once they are in and at the same time know they can be out on the streets any time the system wants to eject them for not being the best money maker for the bank. This way of thinking as a reward system stimulates and enlarges the mechanism of the survival of the fittest where it is a breeding place for greed without regret. The bankers that took the world to the 2008 crisis are still not having regret and are looking back at a great time and many opportunities. And why do they not have any regret? Because we allow them to be greedy and take, we rewarded them with bail outs and sent them the message that they can get away with their behavior while we stay put, which isn’t a surprise when we know the same greed is within all of us. So in a way we look with jealousy in our eyes how the bankers can get away with it while not directly getting why we allow it and have not yet come with solid solutions to turn the tide.

We can even see that the political arena has become a springboard for politicians to end up in the banking sector earning triple the salary they had and handing over their influential service record to the banks. Corporations use the same trick to get influential people inside their organizations to guarantee immunity and build a facade of trust with these public figures that are trusted by the greater public. We can conclude that our global banking system is the tumor within Capitalism. In order to get a form of Capitalism that is great on paper and great in real life we do not only have to get rid of the tumor, but also see that the cause of the cancer is our greediness and thus clear that point.

Clearing this point of greediness includes that we as humanity have to become responsible citizens again. We have to take responsibility for ourselves as well as for ourselves as a group. We can’t depend on the few that are profiting from our Capitalistic system; we need to build a system where all can have a foundation even if we’re not the fittest. At the same time it would be irrational to say that Capitalism isn’t working when certain parts of Capitalism are sucking the blood out of the system. We can come up with economical systems that would work so much better, but absolutely not ready to implement within our current society. In times like this we do not need fantasies of what could be, there is no time to reminisce about things. We’re living within a time that is screaming for direction and cooperation. We need to be willing to not only go for our own greed, but also go for the greater good.

What if we, for the time being, keep Capitalism and “inject life into capitalism” as Marlen Vargas Del Razo said in a life Google hangout. We could rebuild our society with the use of cooperatives where its members, we the people, own the ‘company’, make revenue which strengthens the cooperatives and goes straight to its members. So after expenses each member gets a part of the money the ‘company’ makes, which would be called profit within Capitalism and surplus within a cooperative. Capitalism is close related to the cooperative’s way of making money and that makes it easy to start thinking about Cooperative Capitalism. Where we can bring communal sense back into society, learn from each other, support each other, volunteer and make money. Making a cooperative web of support avoiding the need for greediness. Cooperation on all levels of society to make ourselves ready for the next step and smoothly shift into another economic system like for instance a Living Income Guaranteed.

Capital is mine can then evolve in Capital is mine and yours, because no one should be without any form of support. It’s very simple, what if you become me one day or I become you and end up less fortunate? Do we want to be forgotten, do we want to be looked at with disgust and eyes full of hatred, because we might have inflicted our misfortune upon ourselves. Every being needs a hand that reaches out to them no matter how or why they got themselves in the situation they’re in. We can take our authority in our own hands again, we can cooperate because we are inherently social beings living in groups, why not use such a trait and make a ‘profit’ out of it for the betterment of all? The world only needs a yes from you and things could change in ways you can’t believe right now. Blinded by survival we’ve lost touch with ourselves and our surroundings while the Capital, real life, has always been waiting for us. We can take the Capital; we may take it and in return give it equally to others. The Capital is ours!

 

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A Permanent Solution for the Neglected Produce Laborers of Mexico

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by Fidelis Spies 

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Problem:

A Times reporter and photographer find that thousands of laborers at Mexico’s mega-farms endure harsh conditions and exploitation while supplying produce for American consumers.

The Times found:

  • Many farm laborers are essentially trapped for months at a time in rat-infested camps, often without beds and sometimes without functioning toilets or a reliable water supply.
  • Some camp bosses illegally withhold wages to prevent workers from leaving during peak harvest periods.
  • Laborers often go deep in debt paying inflated prices for necessities at company stores. Some are reduced to scavenging for food when their credit is cut off. It’s common for laborers to head home penniless at the end of a harvest.
  • Those who seek to escape their debts and miserable living conditions have to contend with guards, barbed-wire fences and sometimes threats of violence from camp supervisors.
  • Major U.S. companies have done little to enforce social responsibility guidelines that call for basic worker protections such as clean housing and fair pay practices.

Hardship on Mexico’s farms, a bounty for U.S. tables

By RICHARD MAROSI http://graphics.latimes.com/product-of-mexico-camps/

Where does our food come from? It is the fruits and veggies of other people’s labor. Farm exports to the U.S. from Mexico have tripled to $7.6 billion in the last decade, enriching agribusinesses, distributors and retailers. As you can see in the article it’s the actual labors that come out last.

The company utilizes advance growing techniques and very carefully employs sanitary measures to make sure their produce is safe and good quality, but at the same time they absolutely neglect the workforce. The produce has a higher value than the actual humans working there. One of these Companies actually recently took out full-page newspaper ads promoting its commitment to social responsibility.

The company these laborers work for use devious ways to keep profits high. It is law to pay workers their wages on a weekly base. To ensure that the people do not leave before their 3 month work contract the company often withholds their wages and only pays them at the end of their contract. In that time the workers get their food from the company store with its inflated prices. They often go deep in debt and at the end of their contract some go home without any money.

The conditions are so bad, yet people still go there to work knowing that they might not make money – some go just to stay fed. They go because they simply have no alternative and that is what the companies are exploiting. Is there any way to stop this Madness? Yes

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Solution:

The main reason why people will work for a company like this and live with the miserable living conditions is because they need the money – no matter how little it is. So let’s see how the Living Income Guaranteed will drastically improve the situation:

With the Living Income Guaranteed the workforce will no longer be able to be exploited, because that desperation to find a job no matter where it is or how terrible the work conditions are will no longer exist. When the people who cannot find work receive a Living Income they will no longer accept bad working conditions. The company will have to improve the working conditions otherwise they are going to have a hard time hiring the workforce needed to get the job done.

This Involves granting them good quality foods that they are used to eating, to create proper housing with full services for them – water, toilets – and proper working gear. Also what would need to be done is abolish all abuse – this means no threats and not deliberately creating debt for the workforce.  These companies will need to apply and live by their corporate social responsibility measures; currently it’s only a front to make the companies look good.

With the basic Income Double the Living Income the laborers will be able to make a guaranteed decent living that will be paid on a weekly basis, no excuses allowed.

A Living Income Guaranteed will provide effective and practical solutions to all the current problems these laborers are facing and it is something this world needs – a Solution.

 

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How the Living Income Guaranteed Will promote Environmental Sustainability

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by Fidelis Spies

Environmental Healing with LIGAs we all know, our continued human existence is having consequences on the Earth and one of them is the Earth warming up. And so scientists are trying to come up with solutions to stop this particular consequence and one of the options to stop Global warming is through GEOengineering – interfering with nature on a planetary scale.

Here are some of the GEOengineering options that scientist are currently investigating:

1. Afforestation: This technique would irrigate deserts, such as those in Australia and North Africa, to plant millions of trees that could absorb carbon dioxide; this vegetation would also draw in sunlight that the deserts currently reflect back into space, and so contribute to global warming.

2. Artificial ocean upwelling: Engineers would use long pipes to pump cold, nutrient-rich water upward to cool ocean-surface waters. If this process ever stopped it could cause oceans to rebalance their heat levels and rapidly change the climate.

3. Ocean alkalinisation: This involves heaping lime into the ocean to chemically increase the absorption of carbon dioxide.

4. Ocean iron fertilisation: The method involves dumping iron into the oceans to improve the growth of photosynthetic organisms that can absorb carbon dioxide.

5. Solar radiation management: This would reduce the amount of sunlight Earth receives, by shooting reflective sulphate-based aerosols into the atmosphere.

As I read through this list I get kind of worried, because they are trying to stop the Earth from heating up through wanting to do things like dumping iron into the oceans or spraying the air with sulphate. Won’t that simply cause more problems in the future? You don’t solve a problem with another problem.

Here is an analogy: You see a spider trapped in your bathtub. So you take a few sheets of tissue paper and very carefully burn your house down…

In a similar way that is how we deal with issues we face on this Earth. With the above mentioned solutions we are simply going to create more problems.

Earth Tool ChangeThe way you deal with problems is stopping them at the source, which is the way we humans interact with the Earth – or more specifically: how we have come to value profit over things that actually matter – like the Earth itself. Our world leaders have for some time had those meetings on finding solutions to cut carbon emissions, but not many are actually doing that. The reason comes back to money, a factory pollutes the Earth, but it also makes money. Currently cutting emissions equals less money made.

Eco friendly solutions cost a lot of money, so that is why it is not ever really implemented on global scale – it’s not cost effective. Also, there is the factor that there is a massive profit being made by current use of available technologies – like oil and coal – and thus coming up with other solutions is discouraged.

So then what is the reason for all this pollution currently created? Money. And what would be the solution to clean up and stop pollution? Money. The planet has over 7 billion people on it. And I have read and seen solutions to control and get rid of pollution many times, but it never gets implemented, because the people coming up with these ideas do not have the necessary funds to implement these ideas or do more research. And in many of these cases the people who come up with these ideas are those directly affected by the pollution.

With the implementation of Living Income Guaranteed we could ensure that all options are considered and see what will be the best solution. Not to say that LIG would be bad news to businesses around the world and force them to cut carbon emissions – no – rather more about focusing on ways to prevent this with the use of new technologies that are available and that are currently not being used because profit is placed over sustainability, which is how through Corporate Social Responsibility measures, corporations will also have to consider their own sustainability and assurance of production by stopping degrading measures that will cause more consequences for them and the community.

Also what is happening is that consumers are becoming aware of the consequences that factories have on the environment and are favoring eco-friendly production methods. So the company will have to start introducing environmentally friendly solutions and stick to the new trend to meet the customer demand in order to still make money.

Another point is that when an individual doesn’t have to worry about surviving and can start focusing on actual living – it opens doors and with it great potential. For example there are so many people who find passion in doing humanitarian work, or finding solutions to make factories more efficient and less polluting – but cannot focus on doing any of that, because they need money to survive. Who knows what potential we can unlock and ideas we can come up with and implement to reduce or even reverse the negative consequences we have created on this Earth. The Living Income Guaranteed would bring us closer to finding the solutions we require.

Here are Videos that further explain how with the Implementation of the Living Income Guaranteed will promote Environmental Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility:

 

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What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)? Part 2

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By Josh Richert

 

Continuing from the last blog , CSR is more of a global initiative that is being implemented, encouraged, and directed by various organizations as well as the UN to encourage corporate responsibility towards a common ‘good’.  One of those organizations is the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).  From their website:

“The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a leading organization in the sustainability field. GRI promotes the use of sustainability reporting as a way for organizations to become more sustainable and contribute to sustainable development.”

So, we have CSR which is a global initiative of corporate self-governance to encourage corporation to both regulate themselves and report on themselves in regards to changing and implementing business practices for the common good, such as making products that are environmentally friendly, avoiding slave and child labor, giving back to communities, etc.  In order to implement the CSR and encourage it worldwide, organizations like GRI have been created.  But there are other bodies in addition to GRI, such as the Integrated International Reporting Council.
The IIRC produced a
Discussion Paper in 2011 from which the feedback demonstrated overwhelming support for Integrated Reporting and endorsed the development of a global Framework. It also concluded that the primary audience of integrated reports is investors in order to aid their allocation of financial capital.

And then we also have the United Nations Global Impact, from there website:

“The UN Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning with ten universally accepted principles for human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.
​The UN Global Compact and GRI signed an agreement in May 2010 to align their work in advancing corporate responsibility and transparency. As part of this agreement, GRI will develop guidance regarding the
Global Compact’s ten principles and integrate UNGC issue areas into the next iteration of its Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. The UNGC will adopt the GRI Guidelines as the recommended reporting framework for the more than 5800 businesses that have joined the world’s largest corporate responsibility platform.”

So, what I am getting at here is establishing the framework of what exactly CSR is, and from what I can see, CSR not a set of global laws, but a set of global initiatives for specifically international corporations to voluntarily adhere to (and arguably for their own good such as increasing market share and profitability due to increased consumer awareness of their ‘ethical and altruistic’ business practices) with the intent to improve living conditions for those living on this planet (a.k.a. the ‘common good’) through encouraging corporate responsibility to those living on this planet, of whom are commonly referred to as the ‘stakeholders.’ 

The guidelines, encouragement, and implementation for these standards are managed by various organizations, including GRI, UNGC, and IIRC, to name a few.  These organizations have created what is commonly referred to as ‘sustainability reports’ with specific guidelines and standards in specific categories such as human resources, environmental concerns, supply chain concerns (i.e. labor), philanthropy, volunteering, etc. wherein corporations are encouraged to report on each category based upon specific standards created by these organization.

But is this ‘global initiative’ of corporate ‘self-regulation’ for the common ‘good’ really effective?
Well, one interesting article from Nov 2012 found on the CSR-reporting website sheds some interesting light on that topic.  As a direct quote from the article:

banarra consistency

“Let me just repeat that so it’s clear:

Labor Indicators: 86% of companies claim they report and only 11% actually do.

Human Rights Indicators: 62% of companies claim they report and only 20% actually do.”

This research reveals a significant difference between claims made in GRI Sustainability Reporting and what actually gets reported (which was unpublished research as of November 17 2012 that was conducted by the Vienna Team in collaboration with Middlesex University London lead by Dr. Sepideh Parsa and Dr. Ian Roper); wherein we can see that the vast majority of corporations are reporting falsehoods, are reporting inaccurately, or claim to be reporting but are not even reporting at all.

Why so?  Well, I would venture that this would be expected for the following: Regardless of the motive, whether it be ultraistic or self-serving, for a corporation to self-regulate and comply with CSR reporting, the bottom line is that those with a controlling interest in these corporations, the shareholders, are looking for maximum returns on their investments which means that the corporations profit comes first, and that the consequences of the corporate actions come second.  Thus, if it is more profitable to ‘cheat’ on the CSR reporting then that is what will happen. Furthermore, if complying with CSR initiatives threatens the survival of corporations then that would be reason and justification for corporations to not allow any reporting (tell on itself in essence) that would undermine its ability to survive.  Another reason is that the shareholders are not stakeholders usually and thus are not really feeling the consequences of the corporate practices and thus it is easy to turn a blind eye and ignore the inconsistencies in the CSR reporting by the corporations they own.

 

So, what we are left here with is an interesting dynamic and that is: the corporations are left with finding the right balance between making their CSR reports – which of course is considered to be a competitive advantage – and also keeping profits up as much as possible in order to appease their shareholders and so ensure their survival and continued existence.  I mean, this is a real test of self-honesty even on an individual level in that, would you tell on yourself / disclose your secrets to another if that meant that it may imply that you would lose money, profits and make you less competitive?  So, that balancing point is where the company can be transparent and honest, yet still keep profits up within a satisfactory zone all at the same time.  Thus, this means for most companies that they are going to have fudge the numbers to make this work. This is just plain common sense.

 

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How can we change the system to ensure that corporations will report accurately and make significant changes to their practices that will benefit all / the stakeholders? 

Obviously there needs to be a change in the frame-work of the system because with the way the system is set-up now, there will be no true corporate responsibility taken by corporations as it really is not in their best interest, ultimately, as evidenced by the poor participation in reporting and making real changes thus far.  Thus, the framework of the economic system needs to be adjusted in a way that the corporations still work within self-interest / making profits but yet that self-interest will lead them to make real changes.  The economic system itself must change because the alternative to changing the system and attempting to police or enforce such a code of ethics would literally be impossible on a global scale within the realization that there just is not enough man-power, time, and ways and means to really be able to get inside the corporations and ensure their compliance.  Thus, the compliance must be considered essential to corporations, by corporations, for their survival – just as non-compliance is in essence essential to their survival now – and that will only be achieved by making some adjustments to the economic system.

Another point to consider, is that within the current economic structure, how can we even trust that CSR / eco-friendly / socially responsible measures taken by environmental groups and NGO’s are always working in our / the general populace / the stakeholders and the Earth’s best interest? 

There is strong evidence, if one spends any  time researching this point, that the CSR and Green concepts have been used to corner markets, drive commodity prices up, control resources and markets, and pass oppressive laws or push for potentially oppressive laws such as the ‘carbon tax’ scheme / meme.  It can be argued that this CSR movement has been used as a platform to create memes that the populace accepts as accurate and for their good to then lobby for ‘eco-friendly’ government policies that are really more like ‘Trojan Horses’ that when enforced actually play into the hand of those behind the scenes seeking profit and further oppressing the people.  There is strong evidence that the very corporations themselves use the environmental movement to control prices, markets, and resources.  The oil companies often times fund the very environmental movements that they appear to be in opposition to, as an example.

In sum, CSR and the related green movements are all well and needed, but within the current economic system structure, these initiative and movements are either ineffective or used to manipulate and control markets for the benefits of the shareholders and not the stakeholders.

Back to the question: how can we change our system to ensure that corporations will report accurately and actually make real changes upon themselves within a point of self-regulation?  The answer to this question is not simply in the details, yet it is simple within the point of considering how our economic system is currently structured.  So, there are a couple of points to consider here:

1.  LIG.  A Living Income Guaranteed needs to be initiated.  So, I ask the question: Who ultimately is in control of the corporations?  Answer: Those who buy their products and services, within the point that if corporations lose their customer base, they may cease to exist / go out of business.  So, ultimately, who is the corporation appeasing within all of its activities?  The customer. 

Even within the degree of fraud and manipulation in reporting and green movements today, the customer is ultimately in mind.  It’s like an abusive relationship.  If one party in relationship can ‘get away’ with it, they will, and they will continue to do, so long as the desired relationship stays intact.  However, once that relationship is threatened, the abuser will change his/her behavior in order to save the relationship, if possible.  And even if that change of behavior is within self-interest, the change will still be made in a way that will benefit all parties if the abused decides to no longer take the stance as the abused and force the abuser to change within that stance.

Thus, how do we get the people to take that stand? 

Right now, we as the people / the ‘stakeholders’, are not taking that stand that says ‘no you don’t.  You will not abuse the resources and the people for the sake of your own profit.’  And the primary reason is that most people only have enough money to meet basic survival needs as most people are existing in the bottom level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.   However, if people have enough money, they will move beyond survival and then start really looking at how to make themselves and this world a better place.

You see, right now, most people are only able to shop for things based upon price.  It may matter in the back of someone’s mind about all the abuses that were required to bring that product to market at that price, but if that is all one is able to afford and that is what one needs – that product will be bought regardless.  You see, corporations have us at our knees right now within the principle of ‘beggars cannot be choosers.’  The general populace simply does not have the money to truly vote with their money and thus corporations do not have to really answer to the consumer or the environment because either way, we are still buying from them.

Thus, a LIG will enable the populace to start voting with their money so long as we are able to structure it in a way that the LIG will lift people enough out of poverty to do so.  The LIG will create a new pool of money found in the common man zone, instead of only in the upper echelons where the shareholders of corporations primarily are.  The shareholders have so much money that they are disconnected with the realities on the ground and the abuses therein. Shareholders are concerned with increasing their wealth.  That is why they are shareholders in the first place.  Thus, an LIG will equalize that playing field in giving the common man voting rights with their money and thus lifting them up into a form of ‘shareholder’ as well as their existing status of stakeholder.

2.  Dare I say Nationalization?  Let’s call it: Converting Stakeholders (the common man) to Shareholders.  And let’s start with nationalization of essential resources and perhaps the energy sector.  Through nationalization, stakeholders will suddenly become shareholders of the resources that corporations use to bring energy, raw materials such as lumber, food, and water to market for consumption.  That means that wealthy hidden elite will not be in control behind the scenes in a way to increase their profits at the expense of us all.  That also means that people living within the borders of each country will suddenly have the wealth of these resources and thus will be able to sell or trade these natural resources to other countries or corporations. 
Once established, we can hold a democratic Internet voting system, in the form of a liquid democracy, accessible to the people / the citizens of certain geographic areas – to vote for how they would like the natural resources to be handled.

If this were to occur, then corporations would have to change their ways to conform to the laws of the land regarding these resources, because the owners of the resources, the people, will demand it; or these corporations would have to go somewhere else where these nationalizations have not occurred, YET.  Can anyone give me a good reason why ‘nationalization’ of the resources would be so demonized and how actually benefits from the demonization of the concept of nationalization?

 

3.  Increase Awareness: This is already happening in the CSR / Green movements.  This needs to continue and then be streamlined into a unified movement that is brought to everyone’s attention.  Thus, when people have the money through LIG and have ownership of the resources through Nationalization: they will make better decisions / votes as to how to manage them.

Within this public awareness that needs to be increased, as well as we need to de-polarize the movement and bring it into a practical point of consideration where we all as one see, realize, and understand the consequences and implications of our actions within the current state of affairs, within a fact-based platform.   As compared to where we are now, which has this CSR / ECO / Social awareness movement polarized between left and right / liberal vs. conservative, where the left embraces this movement and anything that comes with this movement, even the manipulated aspects of this movement that are contrived by certain groups to corner markets and drive up prices etc., and the right which rejects this movement in its entirety.

Thus within this polarization, all are consumed with the energy of right verses wrong and not are looking at the practical points that are right here in front of us.  I mean, we do have a garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean that is the size of the United States, don’t we?  Can’t we start discussions on these points without getting all polarized into groups based on right vs. wrong?  So, the depolarization of this movement needs to occur so that people can start looking at this practically, and within that we can start really creating solutions that can be implemented through laws or mandates or simply the influence carried out with the populace who now has money through LIG or part ownership of at least the natural resources.

Once this is in place, corporations will have no other choice but to make decisions that are best for all in their practices or else face the prospect of going extinct / out of business.  Let’s do this.

 

corporate-social-responsibility - LIG

 

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What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

Posted on Updated on

By Josh Richert

You, like me, may have heard of the growing trend for companies and primarily large international corporations to work towards producing products and services that are provided in a way that is environmentally sustainable and socially responsible.  This is commonly referred to as the ‘green movement’ and other terms associated with this would be terms such as ‘carbon footprint’, ‘sustainability’, and ‘eco-friendly.’  But did you know that there exist actual laws and regulations that are designed to direct this movement?  Well, I did not know this until recently, although it would make sense that there must be, as any social or business movement or trend in thinking in our world requires a ‘force’ either behind the scenes or overt to lead the charge and pave the way.

CSROne of these entities is CSR, which stands for Corporate Social Responsibility and also called Business for Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Responsible Business, Enlightened Capitalism, Ethical Business, Triple Bottom Line, Green Business, Corporate Citizenship, Responsible Business, Social Enterprise, etc.   As it stands today, CSR is a form of a built-in self-regulating mechanism whereby businesses can monitor and ensure that their activities comply with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, social and environmental impact, governance considerations and international norms of behavior for the ‘common good’.  The goal of CSR is to have corporations embrace these responsibilities and thus encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, customers, employees, and communities which are commonly referred to as ‘stakeholders’.   CSR is regulated by the UN and other international bodies and is a global movement.

The evolution of CSR is that it came into our collective consciousness in response to the connection between apartheid and business in South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s, which resulted in negative screens on these companies.  Activists responding to slavery, extraction, exploitation, and environmental degradation due to business practices began exposing the inconsistencies between these businesses as to what they present to society and what their actual impact is.  Today, the term CSR implies a responsibility but actually acts as a competitive advantage in that many business leaders are recognizing that these issues can have serious impacts on their companies due to the growing awareness of how products are made, who suffers, if the environment suffers as a consequence to how they are produced which results in consumers avoided their products if their business practices are too ‘bad’. 

Thus, today, many companies today implement CSR into their business model to give them a competitive advantage to gain access to capital, attract talent, gain consumer loyalty, and increase shareholder value just to name a few.

business ethics LIG

 

Even though CSR is recognized as a voluntary self-regulation, stock exchanges across the globe are beginning to require reporting on the non-financial impacts of a company’s activities.  There are a group of standards from which a company can measure their CSR initiatives: ISO 26000, Global Reporting Initiative (FRI), AccountAbility 1000, and Social Accountability International SA8000 to name a few.

Over the years, corporate philanthropy has been widely recognized as the leading tactic for CSR.  Other tactics include human rights initiatives, community investment, natural and organic products, sustainable development, fair trade, green products, responsible investments, diversity, clean technology, among others.  Companies interested in communicating their CSR initiatives use CSRWire.com as the dominant vehicle in distributing information on their initiatives.

The overall goal and intent of CSR is to develop an economically just and environmentally sustainable society.  But, is this really working out as intended?  And even if so, is it fast enough to curb the current level of environmental degradation and social and labor abuses that we are now witnessing on this planet from the current business practices of corporations, before it’s too late and we have consequences that will affect us all, or at least the vast majority of us, in a highly ‘negative’ way? 

Is CSR and other initiatives and regulations like this a real solution or just a band-aid?  And are these initiatives really for the common good or are they being used to consolidate control at the top by slowly but surely enforcing more and more control and regulations on companies?  And within our current economic system of capitalism and its current structure, is it really possible to have a significant effect on the environment by implementing a top-down approach, such as CSR, to dealing with these issues, or is a bottom-up approach more affective?  And what is and would be a bottom-up approach?  And can a bottom-up approach be implemented in a capitalist system?  And what is capitalism anyway?

These questions will be answered in my next writings.  So, stay tuned.

 

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