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What are the Different Approaches to Corporate Responsibility?

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  • Written By: R. Kimball
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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Each organization may implement its corporate responsibility program in a manner that best fits the organization’s goals and objectives. Some organizations have integrated corporate social responsibility into each area of the organization. Other organizations include sustainability as a separate organizational area. Most organizations use sustainability as a marketing tool.

Corporate responsibility programs are intended to include what is called the triple bottom line into an organization’s decision-making process. People, planet, and profit are the elements of the triple bottom line. Each of these elements should be included in the corporation’s sustainability efforts. When these elements are integrated within the organization’s core business, the business might learn that sustainability helps it to increase its profit margin.

Certain organizations have implemented sustainability programs tightly within each area of the organization. These corporate responsibility practices require that each area of the business include its stakeholders, the planet, and intended profits as part of the decision-making process. These companies are sometimes considered to be more sustainable than other companies because they have integrated sustainability within the organization rather than as an afterthought.

Some companies have a specific sustainability group as part of the organization. This form of corporate responsibility might have this separate group working as internal consultants within the company. The group may work with each business unit to incorporate aspects of sustainability within its work process. Many times this form of organizational structure is the first step toward integrating sustainability practices throughout the organization.

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Many organizations have implemented an annual review process to document how the company is doing with regard to corporate responsibility. Some companies include the results of this review process as part of the regular annual report. Other companies create a completely separate report to document the details of how they have included corporate social responsibility in their organization. Stakeholders can use this information to determine how they choose to interact with a given organization.

Using corporate responsibility as a marketing tool is something that many of the larger companies and brands are doing on a grand scale. Big brands are spending time and money on advising the public about what the company is doing with regard to sustainability on an ongoing basis. These companies provide the information as part of their regular advertising campaigns. This allows them to inform a larger group of stakeholders about efforts toward corporate social responsibility than does an annual review or reporting process.

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SZapper
Post 2

@starrynight - That is pretty sleazy, but I doubt all companies that advertise their corporate responsibility are lying.

I don't see anything wrong with using corporate responsibility as a marketing tactic-as long as the companies are actually doing what they say they're doing! In my opinion, if a company is doing something really great, people should know about it!

starrynight
Post 1

I think using corporate responsibility as a marketing tool is just so sleazy. And I bet a lot of those companies don't even actually do all the good things they advertise!

For example, a friend of mine used to work at a large chain store that bills themselves as a high end, organic food store. They're all about recycling and sustainability.

My friend told me that the store he used to work at didn't actually recycle. They would put out recycling bins for the customers but then throw the stuff away at the end of the day!

So they were maintaining an image of corporate responsibility, but not actually doing it! Despicable!

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