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    Corporate Social Responsibility: The 2012 View

    Corporate Social Responsibility is in full swing in 2012. With consumers interested in what their favorite companies and brands are doing in terms of sustainability, corporations are spending more time and money on these initiatives.

    But how is Corporate Social Responsibility defined? The World Business Council for Sustainable Development utilizes the following definition in their publication Making Good Business Sense: “Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as the local community and society at large.”

    This definition is changing due to all the continued growth and expansion of the field. And it’s seeping more and more into the workplace. Increasingly, companies are releasing reports to provide consumers with transparency when it comes to social responsibility.

    According to CorporateRegister.com, more than 5,500 companies around the world issued sustainability reports in 2011. That’s up from 800 a decade ago. The Rate the Raters report from SustainAbility.com found that more than 100 sets of ratings that measure which companies are most responsible.  Forbes acknowledged that this will continue in 2012, as “the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings will endeavor to standardize the ratings framework.”

    In light of the increase in reporting of sustainability, CSR programs are becoming a more important part of the workplace. A Hewitt & Associates study looked at 230 workplaces with more than 100,000 employee as, finding that the more a company pursues social and environmental issues, the more engaged employees are. The Society for Human Resources Management also found that morale was 55% better, business processes were 43% more efficient, public images were stronger, and employee loyalty were 38% better in companies that place an emphasis on sustainability programs.

    This is essential for attracting new employees in the field.  Linda Novick O’Keefe wrote for the Huffington Post: “The new generation of job-seekers places a high value on social obligation. 88% of new job seekers choose employers based on strong CSR value, and 86% would consider leaving if the companies’ CSR values no longer met their expectations.”

    Which percentage would your company fall into?

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