What is social responsibility?

It is a commitment or also called obligation on the part of the members of a society. The assessment of social commitment includes, among others, ethical and legal aspects. Social responsibility is a commitment on the part of the members of a society, either individually or as a group, implying that the impact that a determined decision will have is taken into consideration.

Some of the social responsibility definitions say that social responsibility is the ethical theory that an entity manifests responsibly towards the society in which it is immersed. The responsibility can acquire the character of negative or positive. If it is negative, the abstention can be presented, and the opposite occurs if it is positive. Nowadays, it is considered as a non-obligatory normative concept, that is, without the force of law. For this reason, different perceptions of social responsibility were originated, such as corporate social or corporate social.

For the sociologist Claus Offe, the perception of social responsibility norm aims to act as a mechanism for the creation and promotion of an autonomous moral and civilized self-control of the members of society.

With respect to corporate social responsibility, we can define it as a contribution to social, economic and environmental improvement, carried out by companies with the aim of improving people’s value perception of it. On the other hand, corporate social responsibility assumes that compliance with laws and regulations is understood, which is why it is taken for granted. On the other hand, compliance with labor legislation and regulations that are related to the environment corresponds to environmental responsibility.

In line with social responsibility in business, companies must comply with basic obligations for the simple fact of guaranteeing their activity. If a company declares that it complies with the CSR and does not comply with the legislation that corresponds to its activity, it would be a crime. The administrators of the organizations must carry out practices and strategies that have as objective a balance between the economic, social and environmental aspects.

Corporate Social Responsibility: An inescapable business commitment

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), according to the social responsibility theory, consists of the attitude of large companies to actively and voluntarily commit themselves to social, economic and environmental improvement, with the aim of increasing their competitiveness, value and added value.

CSR applies mainly to large companies. It is a concept of administration and management that is encompassed in a set of practices, strategies and systems that pursue a new balance between the aforementioned dimensions. It is characterized by taking into account the impacts that all aspects of its activities generate on its customers, employees, shareholders, local communities, the environment and society in general. The aim is to raise awareness of all the people that make up the company in the impacts of the actions and collective activities that take place in it.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a form of management defined by ethics in the company’s relationship with its shareholders, as well as by establishing business goals compatible with the environment and promoting the reduction of social inequalities. It consists in the voluntary implementation of social programs or projects that contribute to sustainable human development through the company’s commitment to the environment, the economy and the society where it operates.

Speaking about social responsibility companies, there is a subtle difference in the meaning of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the extent that it distinguishes between the company and the corporation, understanding that the corporation incorporates all organizations, whether business or not.

It is a new paradigm that has been implemented in the strategy of companies and also in universities, government agencies and other social organizations.

One of the most important aspects to take into account to carry out CSR practices is the increasingly important role that civil society charges in relation to companies as a catalyst between the State and the Market.

The proposal is to advocate a collective interest over the particular interest. For this reason, it has a multidimensional nature that encompasses different aspects: consumer interests, work and employment practices, fight against fraud and corruption, health protection, human rights and issues related to the environment.

Among those who defend the implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility are social organizations, in defense of human rights and nature and other social groups that require organizations, especially companies, to behave more respectfully with society, with nature and with the interest groups with less negotiating power.

Social responsibility activities

Without hesitation, we are in a stage of transformation in production systems. Until recently, businesses were driven by fierce competition and an excessive ambition for accounting, environmental and social responsibility activities that have led some companies to the brink of bankruptcy.

The uses of Corporate Social Responsibility increase competitiveness globally, through the reduction of costs and the generation of value linked to the substantial improvement of products and services as well as the optimization of quality of life and the care of the environment.

You can catalog the responsibilities that companies have to implement in three areas:

  • Specific activity of the company. If they do not take care of themselves, it could have serious consequences for their survival.
  • Improve the effects resulting from these activities on the interdependent social groups of the company, beyond the minimum requirements that are required.
  • Actions of the company that are oriented towards improving certain aspects of its social environment, transcending its specific activity.

As a clear example of the benefits of implementing CSR strategies for companies, comment that in 2001 the Inditex textile group decided to start up its Corporate Social Responsibility department. This commitment gave them numerous advantages: prestige, loyalty from customers and suppliers, sales increases, better financial backing and more motivated workers. We have a separate case in the so-called Greenwashing, which describes the practice of certain companies, by giving a turn to the presentation of their products and / or services to see them seemingly as respectful of the environment and normally framed within the philosophy of the RSC. However, this change of strategies is purely of form and not of substance (purely marketing) so it becomes a misleading use of CSR. Search the CSR a strategy of washing the face of the brand or its fiscal and financial advantages, has nothing to do with the original philosophy with which this type of strategy must be addressed.

It is imperative to know in depth and to be trained about the principles, aspects, practices and forms of evaluation of the activities to be carried out within the framework of Corporate Social Responsibility.