CSR – Doing well by doing good

CSR works

Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is defined as voluntary efforts by businesses to contribute to society. It may include

  • Workplace issues (such as training and equal opportunities)
  • Human rights
  • The business’ impact on the community
  • Reputation, branding and marketing
  • Ethical investment
  • Environment
  • Ethics and corporate governance

I think CSR is great and many corporations practice it already. One percent for the planet, pioneered by Patagonia, is one of my favorite examples.

And now something even more interesting is going on right here in Denmark: we’re implementing a national policy to enhance corporate growth and sustainable social development by teaching small and mid-sized businesses about CSR .

I just had a very exciting meeting with Karen Høeg, an old friend who’s currently working on that very project for the Danish Commerce and Companies Agency.

The project kicked off formally last week and will educate 12.000 danish leaders and employees from small and mid-sized businesses in CSR, helping them to increase their profits while doing something good for society and the planet. It is, as far as I know, the largest CSR project in the world.

Studies show that companies who do CSR make more money than those who don’t. Quite simply, doing good helps businesses do well.

I have a simple explanation for why this is the case: Doing good feels good. It makes people happy. And happy people are the best way to business success.

In my post about Creating a Happy and Rich Business, I outlined the six practices of happy workplaces, and two of these are “Care” and “Think and act long-term”. CSR is an expression of both of these. That’s why it makes people happy, and that’s why it’s good for corporate profits and corporate growth.

But then again, I would say that, wouldn’t I? :o)

5 thoughts on “CSR – Doing well by doing good”

  1. This sounds like an exciting project. I find that publicly traded companies find themselves compelled to “not to care” and to “think short term” (read: this quarter’s profits) in order to meet the expectation of investors. Small and mid-size companies may not have that same sort of pressure.

    Is this CSR program voluntary?

    Charles Handy wrote a very helpful article for Harvard Business Review several years ago called “What is Business For?” I will try and get you the reference data if you like. It makes the case for CSR.

  2. Mads Kjaer, The CEO of Kjaer Group, said it best:
    Business must be for profit,
    profit must be for a purpose

    Yes, the CSR program is totally voluntary. What’s interesting about is that it ties together
    * the government’s wish to promote business growth
    * businesses’ desire for increased profits
    * the chance for companies to do good

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