The week ending 9 June will go down in history as a black one for large parts of South Africa with deadly storms and fires ravaging large parts of the Cape. Within hours of the devastating headlines, many organisations sprang into action to assist those left homeless and traumatised.
We have to salute the likes of DHL, Discovery, Gift of the Givers and iTickets for their initiative in this regard, along with the many many churches and other organisations who are working to assist those in need.
It is times like this when some of our confidence in humanity is restored. The realisation that within us is still the compassion and empathy for our fellow man.
And this is the essence of corporate social responsibility, understanding that our business activities can impact on those around us and taking measures to minimise any negative effects. According to http://smallbusiness.chron.com, the idea behind corporate social responsibility is that companies have multiple responsibilities to maintain. As a business meets lower-level responsibilities that obligate it to shareholders and the law, it can move on to the higher level responsibilities that benefit society.
A company's first responsibility is its economic responsibility - that is to say, a company needs to be primarily concerned with turning a profit. This is for the simple fact that if a company does not make money, it won't last, employees will lose jobs and the company won't even be able to think about taking care of its social responsibilities. Before a company thinks about being a good corporate citizen, it first needs to make sure that it can be profitable.
A company's legal responsibilities are the requirements that are placed on it by the law. Next to ensuring that company is profitable, ensuring that it obeys all laws is the most important responsibility, according to the theory of corporate social responsibility.
Ethical responsibilities are responsibilities that a company puts on itself because its owners believe it's the right thing to do - not because they have an obligation to do so. Ethical responsibilities could include being environmentally friendly, paying fair wages or refusing to do business with oppressive countries, for example.
If a company is able to meet all of its other responsibilities, it can begin meeting philanthropic responsibilities. Philanthropic responsibilities are responsibilities that go above and beyond what is simply required or what the company believes is right. They involve making an effort to benefit society - for example, by donating services to community organizations, engaging in projects to aid the environment or donating money to charitable causes.
It is these philanthropic causes we want to hear about in the coming months with the build up to Mandela Day. We want to catch companies doing the RIGHT thing for a change. Whether it’s large or small contribution it doesn’t matter – every bit helps.
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