As the year 2022 unfolds, the world continues to face familiar challenges – the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, the lingering crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and waste.
Yet this year could be the perfect time for environmental concerns, with conferences, symposia and high-profile events scheduled to help energize international cooperation and collective action.
This year will also mark two Golden Jubilees. In 1972, the world took up the environmental torch at the historic United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. The meeting placed the environment firmly on the agenda of governments, civil society, business and policy makers, recognizing the inextricable links between the planet, human well-being and economic growth. Now, fifty years later, the Stockholm+50 meeting in June 2022 will commemorate the event, reflect and move forward.
Experts hope 2022 will be a year of breakthroughs for the environment.
In line with these global environmental changes, many companies around the world and in the Philippines are re-examining how to participate to help monitor and limit corporate social responsibility programs.
Corporate social responsibility redefined
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as defined by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), is a management concept in which companies integrate the consideration of social and environmental issues into their business operations. and their interactions with stakeholders. CSR issues may relate to environmental management, social equity, labor standards and conditions, and good governance, among others.
In the Philippines, the birth of corporate social responsibility and its practice can be traced back to the 1960s, when companies donated cash directly to foundations and other charities. It was more limited to philanthropic efforts or the usual one-time distributions to communities in need. A decade later, many companies have begun to launch CSR activities in the areas of education, environment, disaster response and recovery, as well as livelihood or capacity building projects. skills.
Recently, more and more companies are responding to the call to make more meaningful interventions. They have started to embed CSR into their business practices for reasons related to business sustainability, stakeholder demands, improved competitive advantage, access to new markets and growth. brand image of the company.
Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility hen buying a product, 83% of customers are willing to choose ethical products to avoid environmental damage caused by its production. CSR is not just about social capital or reputation management. It is also a question of corporate social responsibility or CSR.
Although there are many benefits, the psychosocial benefits of CSR are difficult to measure. However, the benefits of socially responsible workplaces and sustainable communities are clearly visible.
There are four main benefits of CSR: community, employee, economic and environmental benefits.
One of the main benefits is that CSR can help improve the social fabric of communities. Social enterprises bridge the gap between business and the nonprofit sector by providing benefits to society as a whole, while meeting the needs of individual communities.
When employees are included in CSR activities, their experience of working for a company that values CSR results in higher levels of employee satisfaction.
Combined with increased motivation and empowerment, this leads to more engaged workers who are likely to produce higher quality work.
A business that benefits the local community has an advantage when it comes to recruiting, motivating and retaining employees in that area. Additionally, the benefits of CSR can lead to economic growth opportunities for vendors/suppliers and other organizations in the region.
The benefits of corporate social responsibility are also realized by the environment.
CSR helps organizations become more environmentally aware and encourages them to take actions that improve their environmental impact. Many companies have adopted green policies as a result of their CSR initiatives, and some companies have even gone so far as to create separate divisions that focus exclusively on environmental sustainability.
Different types of CSR
Corporate Social Responsibility is based on these four principles:
Ethics, philanthropy, environmental and economic.
Ethical responsibility is to ensure the well-being of employees by ensuring fair labor practices for employees as well as the employees of their suppliers. Ethical working practices for suppliers means that companies will ensure the use of products certified to fair trade standards. Ensuring fair work practices for employees means that there will be no discrimination based on gender, race or religion among employees and that every employee will receive equal pay for equal work and better compensation for living wage.
Philanthropic responsibility means serving humanity. It is a criterion that pays attention to the welfare of disadvantaged or needy people who are in dire need of our support to support themselves on this planet. Companies fulfill their philanthropic responsibility by donating their time, money or resources to charities and organizations nationally or internationally. These donations are mostly given to various worthwhile causes including human rights, national disaster relief, clean water and education programs in underdeveloped countries.
No other business magnate has fulfilled his philanthropic responsibilities better than Bill Gates. Bill Gates has donated billions of dollars to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which supports many causes including education, malaria eradication and agricultural development etc.
Economic responsibility is an interconnected area that seeks to strike a balance between business, environmental and philanthropic practices. Economic responsibility meets established standards of ethical and moral regulations. In this context, companies are trying to find a solution that can facilitate the growth of their business and generate profits by benefiting the community and society.
Here, economic decisions are made taking into account both their overall effects on society and on businesses. Therefore, economic responsibility can improve business operations while engaging in sustainable practices.
Today, we must focus on two major areas of our environment: limiting pollution and reducing greenhouse gases. Companies are required to assume their economic responsibility as awareness of environmental issues is growing widely among consumers and today they want companies to take the necessary steps to save the planet and all lives. Companies concerned with reducing air, soil and water pollution have increased their status as good corporate citizens while benefiting society.
Among the four types of CSR above, environmental responsibility seems to be highlighted in 2022.
Environmental CSR aims to reduce the harmful effects of business processes on the environment. Activities may relate to:
- energy consumption
- use of water
- Waste Management
- eco-responsible policy for business and office travel
Some of them are important from both an environmental and a financial point of view.
Benefits of environmental CSR
Green CSR can reduce business risk, improve reputation and provide cost reduction opportunities. Even the simplest energy efficiency measures can save money and make a difference for your business. for example
- turn off lights and equipment when not in use
- reduce water use
- reduce the amount of paper you waste
Caring about the environment can also increase income. Many customers prefer to buy from responsible companies.
How to reduce environmental impact
You can reduce the environmental impact of your business in several ways. For example, you can:
- create recyclable products
- optimize the product life cycle
- source responsibly (e.g. using recycled materials and sustainable wood)
- reduce packaging
- buy locally to save fuel costs
- creating an efficient (and fuel-efficient) distribution network
- working with environmentally conscious suppliers and distributors
Meanwhile, Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Benjamin Diokno, stressed the importance of green investments or projects aimed at natural resource conservation to boost the country’s post-pandemic recovery.
“Given that the Philippines is vulnerable to typhoons and climate-related hazards due to its geographic location, green recovery is the ideal approach to strike a balance between implementing economic strategies and building resilience to climate change. climate and disasters,” Diokno said in a statement recently.
Citing data from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, the BSP chief said investment in the Philippines and three other major emerging markets – China, Indonesia and Vietnam – could reach $5.1 trillion. dollars if these economies adopted a post-pandemic “green recovery approach”. “
This approach includes investments in energy efficiency, green infrastructure, support for environment-related research and development, and incentives for low-carbon vehicles.
Diokno said BSP has integrated sustainability principles into its portfolio management as part of its sustainable central bank strategy.