Corporate Social Responsibility & the Value of our Environment
CSR plays a large role in some companies’ strategy and not so much in others. There are no international standard practices when it comes to CSR, companies can decide how much or how little they want to contribute, there are no legal requirements to commit to it as it’s a voluntary concept that benefits wider society by taking account of the interests of various stakeholders including employees, clients, suppliers, local communities and the environment that we live in.
Over the past 20 years there have been many empirical studies and journals written about the impact and value CSR initiatives has on society, company culture, the environment and customer relationships. A recent study published by Aljarah et al., (2018) carried out a meta-analytic review to examine the impact of corporate social responsibility on customer relationship quality based on three main aspects of namely, satisfaction, trust and commitment. The research found an overall strong and positive relationship between CSR and the dimensions of customer relationship quality.
CSR has been around for a long time but only in recent times has it really come to the forefront of international business roundtable discussions. A possible real turning point came only just a year ago, where 181 CEOs from some of the largest global companies such as Amazon, American Airlines and JPMorgan Chase & Co came together to “sign a statement of purpose” to say companies exist to benefit customers, employees, suppliers and communities, not just shareholders. The reason behind this discussion is that there has been extreme political pressure put on these organisations as the wealth gap in society is growing significantly.
CSR has played a role in improving the environment but so much more can be done. Since COVID-19 propelled the world into lockdown, emissions have seen their biggest drop since the second world war. We have talked, seen and heard about the crystal clear waters of Venice, the emerging blue skies and mountainous views in Delhi and wild animals roaming the once busy streets in capital cities and I believe this has made us all reflect on our value for our environment.
If we value it as individuals, we can collectively change our environment by investing in long term sustainability. By channelling CSR, companies can make major changes to the way they function, impact on the environment and engage with society.
The Water Institute is part of many CSR water initiative programmes, both big and small. We work closely with companies to understand their CSR targets and pillars and collaborate with you on designing a project that meets these goals. The projects can range from short term (weeks) to long term (1-2 years). We can involve voluntary organisations ensuring maximum engagement and impact and also open the projects to employees of your company. Participants will work side-by-side with leading scientists to not only gather data on critical environmental issues but also identify ways to bring their hands-on experiences back to their company and community.
By Ruth Clinton
Water Innovation Officer