CSR at Inflection Point – Board’s Strategy for boost Impact
CSR at Inflection Point – Most human communities and societies, as well as those of many other species, appear to be tied to expectations of acceptable and responsible behaviour from other members. It comes with responsibilities, and those who fail to meet them may face penalties. Expectations and what is acceptable or tolerated can shift throughout time. They should not be taken for granted at times of crisis and stress. Have we reached a tipping point in terms of a board’s strategy for maximising effect and attaining responsible and sustainable bottom-line development, with mankind confronting a number of interconnected difficulties and impending tipping points beyond which it may be too late to escape catastrophe?
Since the industrial revolution, some entrepreneurs have taken on various forms of social responsibility. To house their employees, several early mill owners built ‘model‘ villages with amenities to care for their spiritual and bodily well-being (Valentine, 2021). Philanthropy by individuals has a long history (Bremner, 1988). The wider economic, social, technological, and environmental implications of many firms’ fundamental commercial activities have overshadowed the influence of laudable projects done by their founders. These have had the potential to be transformative in both positive and negative ways.
Companies have been referred to as having corporate social responsibility (CSR), but what does, could, or should the term “social” mean? Is it about a certain civilization or society in general? Does it refer to a meeting for specific goals or a specific set of non-work activities, or does it refer to a local community or a larger society at a national or international level? What should our current priorities be, and can we gain anything from recent academic study on CSR, aside from our personal experiences?
CSR at Inflection Point
Corporate accounting and reporting policies and procedures can indicate a lot about how knowledgeable, responsible, open, and transparent a board is. Many organisations’ policies appear to be designed to hide the full impact of negative externalities. Activities that harm ecosystems, deplete scarce natural capital, and contribute to global warming are occasionally accepted, hidden, or tolerated.
Different people may have different ideas on what the term “social” should mean. Some people differentiate between social, economic, environmental, ethical, legal, and other types of accountability. Environmental, social, and governance criteria or considerations may be applied individually by ESG investors. Others take a more comprehensive approach. They consider these disparate elements as interconnected and acknowledge that a wide variety of corporate operations have societal consequences.
Opportunity and responsible innovation, enterprise and capitalism are at the heart of CSR and ESG. They are about giving stakeholders new options and choices for living and operating more sustainably and in tune with nature. They could include rewilding and regeneration, as well as social and economic inclusion, climate justice, and lifestyle change.
The social and environmental aspects of business have been regarded as equally important as the economic and financial aspects (Aras and Crowther, 2010). They must all be handled through governance arrangements, and corporate boards must understand and consider them. In order to attract multiple stakeholders, create connections with them, limit risk exposure, and sustain favourable performance, directors are increasingly required to give strategic direction and leadership across all of these areas.
Corporate responsibility, ethics, and corporate citizenship are all linked (Mackey, 2014). Lord Stern (2019) believes that pursuing a zero-carbon economy might lead to strong and inclusive growth, resulting in a more livable climate and assisting in the achievement of the United Nations’ SDGs (2015). If business leaders can restore trust and build confidence and credibility through a shared purpose that encompasses strategy and execution, they may be able to forge collaboration, cooperation, and partnerships with complementary businesses, governments, regulators, public bodies, and other stakeholders.