It has become something of a buzzword in recent years. Many companies look to increase on their corporate responsibility but what exactly is it?
Corporate responsibility is defined as corporations having a responsibility to its stakeholders and society at large. How stakeholders is defined can vary but they are often defined as customers, suppliers, employees, larger communities, other financiers and shareholders. Thus each company looking to be corporately responsible needs to be responsible for all these people or communities.
One example of a corporately responsible business is Dublin office fruit delivery company “Fruitful Office”. Every time a basket of the Fruitful Office fruit is consumed by their customers, they are planting fruit trees in Malawi. With one fruit tree planted for each fruit basket consumed, this amounts to quite a lot of trees! They tend to opt for papaya or guava trees as these are the best for the climate and for what they need them for but they do also plant quick growing trees such as Senna Siamea in order to provide firewood for the local people.
Corporate responsibility can come in many different forms though, not just like what the Fruitful Office team are doing. Companies can give back by launching staff volunteer programmes where staff volunteer their time helping others in their local community, others may look further afield to war torn or poverty stricken companies.
Other companies who are involved in corporate responsibility schemes include Burt’s Bees, The Body Shop, Ben & Jerry’s’, Toms Shoes and GE – all have their own schemes in place which aim to help their customers, employees and the wider community. Their campaigns may all differ but they all have the same aim at heart and this is important for other companies and society in general to be aware of.
This is also a major issue when it comes to investors. Many investors now want the companies they are interested in investing in to have some form of corporate responsibility campaign in place before investing their own time and money. Investors are certainly becoming more ethically minded and they are keen for the companies they are interested in investing in to do the same.
So what can we learn from those companies who are involved in corporate responsibility campaigns? We can learn that it is important to put the community at the forefront, making ethical decisions and knowing how we can help either our local community, wider community or even communities abroad. We can take a look at companies such as Fruitful Office who have made such a difference in Malawi to keep income and food flowing in for those on the poverty line. With firewood and fruit aplenty, they are supplied with an income and also food should the income slow down. They are committed to educating Malawi farmers into how to care for their trees correctly and get maximum potential from them in order to better their families lives. Corporate responsibility is certainly the buzzword within companies right now and it is easy to see why.