Have you ever heard of corporate social responsibility?  I first read about it in 2007 but it continues to resonate with me.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is “contributing to sustainable development by working to improve quality of life with employees, their families, the local community and stakeholders up and down the supply chain.” (from The World Business Council for Sustainable Development).

The three main tenets of sustainability are profits, people, and the planet.

Of course, a company wants to make money. If it does not, then it will not survive. Therefore, whatever it makes or offers or sells must bring a profit.  When the company is owned by shareholders, it must keep those corporate owners happy.

But making money is not the only motivator for a company that adheres to CRS. The second emphasis must be on people.  How does the company treat its employees? Does it make money at the employees’ expense? Is the pay scale equitable? Does the company realize that its employees have families who may need to be away from the company for part of a day to visit a child at school, to take a parent to the doctor, or to deal with an emergency?  Does the company offer opportunities for its employees to remember that they are human beings first and employees second? Does the company treat its vendors ethically and with respect?

The third emphasis for CRS is responsibility for the environment and the community. Does the company work in the best way possible to care for the planet and the community where it is located?  Does it try to reduce consumption of vital resources such as water or power sources?  Does it reduce waste by recycling or reusing what would go to landfills?  Does it refuse to pollute the environment?

If a company was given significant tax incentives to move into a community, does it remain there embedded in the fabric of the community’s life after the “breaks” expire or does it move yet again to another state that will give it tax breaks?

Does the company make money and do it ethically and make a difference?

What companies do you know that would qualify as a socially responsible corporation? How might you support their efforts and let them know how you appreciate them?

If you are in a company, is it socially responsible? If not, are there steps  you can take to help it move to that goal?

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