Concepts related to corporate social responsibility (CSR)

The most common stereotype of a corporation is a fast money-making machine that maximizes profits at the expense of the people working within it, its clients and the environment. Since most corporations operate behind a wall — that is — they do not allow the public to see the more personal behind-thescenes work that takes place within the business, it has been hard for many companies to counteract that stereotype. However, CSR strategies help break down that wall between corporations and the public and allows the public to see the human side to big business. ‘Doing no harm’ is a concept that initially describe the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Corporations ensure that their services and the production process of their commodities are not harmful to the clients and the environment. Now, however, the concept of ‘doing no harm’ is considered insufficient if other aspects of the business are not aligned with responsible business practices. The products may not be harmful, but the corporation may be paying below minimum wage to its workers or it is not honest with its tax payments or its pricing scheme is not fair. In this context the principle of ‘doing right’ is added as a core concept in CSR. Responsible corporations are expected to be transparent, and not only legally, but also morally upright.

There is no standard definition of CSR, and generally it can be considered as constituting the efforts of the corporation to initiate or support activities that results to positive impact on the environment and the community. Activities may include improving labor conditions, environmental efforts, gender empowerment, philanthropy, and other social development activities.

Advantages of CSR activities Consumer awareness is a reality today. People pay for commodities not only for the quality but also for what it stands for. It is unfashionable to wear garments from sweatshops with workers paid below minimum wage. It is not socially cool to eat chocolate from cacao farms using child labor. Consumers patronize companies that are honest, transparent and doing good. It enhances the image of the corporations and boost brand loyalty.

CSR activities in communities foster beneficial relationship with the community and the company. Itcreates a venue where both can share expectations and express grievances and a mechanism where conflicts are discussed and managed.

Internal to the corporation, it establishes a work-life balance mechanism for employees who want to participate in meaningful endeavors outside the workplace. It encourages employees to volunteer and make their contribution satisfying the need to ‘feel good’. Staff loyalty is cultivated because people want to be identified with a responsible corporate citizen.

The company CSR can also harness support from people outside the corporation. It can mobilize people looking for activities to channel their interests and energies. Millennials have been reported as willing to take lower paychecks for jobs that satisfy their desire to contribute to the social good.

Some of CSR activities from Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association