Corporate social responsibility (CSR) could best be described as an initiative that organisations and companies have adopted in recent times with a ploy of selfless giving and visibility. Most of the organisations actually plan huge amounts of money in their budgeting aligned to the CSR. It is believed to be a strategic gimmick from the marketing teams of respective organisations as a way of giving back to stakeholders and that is fair and square.
CSR is indeed having an impact and should be encouraged. Many a times, companies have donated various items such as medical equipment, pay school fees for the needy, drill boreholes in communities, build hospitals, bridges among others in the name of CSR. This does not only help the immediate beneficiaries.
Furthermore, CSR campaigns have been thought of as a way of lifting people out of poverty and making a difference which is undisputed. This is substantiated by the impact which some organisations have made. This has helped to improve the visibility and businesses of many organisations.
However, there is another form of CSR being given a blind eye. Many organisations want to make masses believe CSR initiatives are charity. No! Of what benefit would it be for an organisation to donate equipment, facelift buildings and structures?
For instance, a mobile phone operator comes into an area to paint buildings. You will see them painting the structures with their colours. Why not any other colour? What they are doing there is marketing and they will benefit from that. Even if a bank comes into a community and say we want to pay fees for needy students. What the bank is doing is to introduce itself to the community and improve its visibility, which would influence some to open accounts with the bank.
Another component that is ignored is that these companies use profits they make from the services they are providing. What it means is that the company is just giving back what it got from the public and usually they give out just a fraction of the profits.
So, it should be noted, CSR is not a charity. It is business. Therefore, with all due respect, it is good to openly declare and quote this CSR salad with a better term that honestly describes the results and outcomes from these initiatives.
It must also be noted that there are some organisations that are not truly rewarding their employees.
However, they prefer to ignore the pawns that are winning the game and prefer to spend hugely and handsomely on CSR. Such employees are by no chance disgruntled and would not be willing to take part in these initiatives unless forced by management and they do not have an excuse for fear of reprisals. Such is the scenario in some workplaces that has been left silent not by choice, but rather greed and unsatisfactory appreciation from the management.
In conclusion, CSR needs to wear a new face and truly reflect what it really means and want to achieve from such. CSR is good and must in no way be discouraged. It must be improved with a new face and realism. Truth must not be economic rather let the whole spectrum and playing field be levelled for the beneficiaries to know that there is nothing for nothing in such initiatives and that they too have a role to play.
At the end of the day, CSR is a two-way transaction that both parties have to contribute and squarely benefit from. Even if one can argue, justify, have immense faith that can even move mountains or be a character that can even urinate through the eye of the needle without the urine touching the sides, CSR is not charity and free. n