CSR areas worth introducing in your company

CSR areas

The areas of CSR, or corporate social responsibility, until recently were an interesting topic only from the point of view of niche, ecological brands. What has changed to make the topic of corporate social responsibility so pressing today? 

What will you learn from the text?

Nowadays, more and more companies pay attention to their activities and their impact on society and the natural environment. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), i.e. corporate social responsibility, is becoming not only a fashionable slogan, but a key element of the management strategy of many organizations.

But what is CSR really? What are the principles of social responsibility and in what areas is it applied? In this entry, we will try to answer these questions by presenting the definition of CSR, key activities within it and the benefits of their implementation - not only for the environment, but also for the enterprises themselves. We will also look at how companies can effectively plan their strategy CSR and what importance these activities had during the pandemic.

Social involvement is becoming more and more expected by both consumers and investors, which makes CSR an integral element of modern business. We invite you to read - learn more about the areas of CSR application and why it is worth implementing the principles of social responsibility in your company.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

The range of this phenomenon, i.e. corporate social responsibility, is becoming more and more visible in the politics of the most important corporations. Pragmatically, we can say that it is a response to trends, and the eco or slow style has been in fashion for several years. Some people see something more in it. A global revolution that companies must join, at least to some extent, to change the world for the better. Regardless of what the truth is, one thing is clear. More are entering the business CSR areas and it is difficult to stop this trend.

The areas of CSR, i.e. social responsibility, involve taking into account not only profit but also the social context in the functioning of the company.

The concept is closely related to sustainable development, i.e.: "Social responsibility and the organization's obligation to include social and environmental aspects in the decision-making process and to take responsibility for the impact of decisions and activities on society and the environment." (ISO 26000 definition).

CSR areas

It can be protection or support: 

  • nature, 
  • society, 
  • employee rights, 
  • animals, 
  • charity work 

Today, on the websites of the largest brands, you can find the "social responsibility" section. Company representatives know that public opinion expects this. Research also shows that most people are willing to pay extra if the product is advertised as ecological or compatible with nature. This means that individual activities in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility can also translate into profits and sales support. It is a myth that companies only lose out on implementing more sustainable, more expensive solutions. 

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What is CSR - definition

Nowadays, every enterprise should take care of the environment in which it operates. Thanks to this, it not only works pro-ecologically, but also gains in the eyes of the public. It has become a kind of obligation.

What is CSR? In English, Corporate Social Responsibility, which in free translation translates into corporate social responsibility. In order to understand and define CSR areas in detail, the definition of CSR should be explained. According to Marek Grzybowski in "Social Responsible Company. The enterprise philosophy of XXI "is"an element conducive to achieving the economic goals of the company and consisting in caring for positive relations among those groups that may affect success in business. " What can these groups be? Not only consumers themselves, but also stakeholders, suppliers, competitive companies, etc. It can be briefly said that corporate social responsibility applies to social, economic as well as environmental aspects.

The above-mentioned areas according to the ISO 26000 standard are very extensive and explain in detail the spheres of socially responsible activities of enterprises. However, it is worth looking at other opinions and perspectives of scientists who also tried to define the areas of CSR.

CSR areas - citations

Based on Marek Grzybowski's definition, CSR areas are considered within specific groups of interests of a given company. Ricky Griffin in "The Fundamentals of Organizational Management" lists three specific areas towards which organizations apply socially responsible activities: the natural environment, external stakeholders and general social well-being.

The first area is the environment. Griffin explains that environmental actions should be based on: "such operation of the entity that will reduce the harmful impact on the environment in the phase of production, normal operation and waste disposal. " Particular emphasis is placed on industrial enterprises, among which such pro-environmental measures should be necessary and necessary to maintain positive relations with the environment. They are a kind of compensation for environmental degradation caused by intensive production and expansion of enterprises to new areas. CSR areas in this aspect will concern, among others, such activities as: "the use of more and more modern devices, processes and technologies."

Another area is external shareholders. CSR in this aspect "it consists in equal treatment of employees, taking into account their interests, social needs, employment on the basis of decent conditions or at least making decisions indicating that the enterprise takes into account the private and family life of the employee. " - Katarzyna Kazojć explains in "The concept of social responsibility and its areas in organizations". The most important external shareholders are employees, customers and investors. The organization should focus on them in particular when planning socially responsible activities.

The last area mentioned is general social welfare. Griffin emphasizes that "it refers to an additional activity of the company which is intended to contribute to increasing the level of welfare in the environment. " What examples of activities can be mentioned in this aspect? For example: philanthropic activity, supporting social and cultural organizations, or supporting political equality.

What are the key CSR activities?

CSR areas that can be introduced into the company's policy will depend on its nature. Better are those tailored to the company's realities and key competences than universal or fashionable at the moment. The combination of the company's main area of operation and its values with social responsibility allows for the identification of CSR areas that can be maintained and developed in the long term. In this way, you can also use the existing ones marketing communication channels, strengths and other resources that the company already has. It is worth identifying areas of CSR that employees will be convinced of.

Key activities that may be part of such a strategy include launching a company foundation or supporting an existing one. Companies often create their own cultural or social initiatives (podcast, marathon, festival). In this way, they show commitment without disturbing the everyday functioning of the organization. It can also be a commitment - e.g. reducing plastic consumption in the office by 30%. or creating a vegetable garden on the roof of the building.

Sometimes CSR is built on the example of a specific person, such as the socially engaged Bill Gates or a journalist known for her concern for the environment, who is the founder of an ecological cosmetics brand.

CSR areas

CSR areas such as environmental protection and resource saving are often the result of process and technological improvements. Then the marketing agency can create PR campaigns around e.g. reducing the consumption of raw materials during production, which took place anyway as part of naturally occurring company processes. You just need to identify the appropriate message that you can boast about in the social report. 

Corporate social responsibility during the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has created new challenges for entrepreneurs - different operating circumstances, the need to redefine organizational goals and brand vision. Everyone had to face the new reality - both small, local enterprises and international giants. It was speculated that COVID-19 would negatively impact the development of individual brands. However, many companies have shown that you can also do something valuable in times of crisis. Many organizations have been involved in the fight against the pandemic. From the very beginning, they have selflessly helped those who need it.

In particular, hospitals, emergency stations, schools, local governments and social welfare homes. Activities carried out by enterprises can be included in the scope of CSR. One of the areas of corporate social responsibility is taking care of social issues - including caring for the health of society.

The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined companies' approach to CSR activities. She tested the sensitivity and attention of enterprises. It made them reflect on their values and priorities that guide them on a daily basis. The crisis has strengthened the trend of corporate social responsibility. He was an impulse for change - for greater involvement in social matters. He showed how important it is to support each other, help others and fight for important issues.

CSR areas

The coronavirus pandemic has marked out new areas of CSR activities - aimed at fighting the crisis and supporting people or groups in need. Many enterprises offered financial assistance to the most needy entities (mainly health care) - eg Bank Pekao donated PLN 5 million to hospitals. Lots of smaller companies (mainly clothing brands) became involved in sewing masks and the production of disinfectants (e.g. the initiative of PKN Orlen and KGHM).

Other areas of CSR activity in the era of coronavirus are:

  • providing necessary materials to medical services,
  • help for the elderly,
  • supporting local businesses,
  • delivering meals to hospitals,
  • providing equipment to employees working from home and students learning remotely,
  • volunteering for schools and health services.

CSR activities during the crisis also apply to employees. Employer branding during a pandemic focuses on the physical and mental health of employees. Many companies have implemented new solutions appropriate to the situation - including psychological support, adapting workplaces to new requirements, working from home, providing employees with disinfectants and masks.

The pandemic has shown the importance of CSR activities. She redefined the approach to helping and engaging in social matters. Moreover, it prepared companies for possible future crisis situations.

CSR benefits – not only the natural environment benefits

CSR activities must be consistent with public relations activities. They should be in harmony with the brand's mission and vision. Thanks to this, they will be authentic and perfectly fit into the functioning of the company.

CSR uses various tools that allow you to achieve your goals. The first is ecological activities - that is, all initiatives and investments that minimize the company's negative impact on the natural environment. An example is the recycling of rubbish or the resignation from buying water in plastic bottles. Activities in the field of ecology also include the search for innovations that may have a positive impact on the environment - as part of the conducted activity or offered products.

The second CSR tool is employee volunteering. This is understood as the involvement of employees of a given company in pro-social campaigns, voluntary work for social initiatives - e.g. organizing collections of food and accessories for animals from shelters.

An important tool for corporate social responsibility are programs for employees - broadly understood employer branding. CSR activities involve investing in the development and improvement of employees' qualifications, ensuring the comfort of their lives, and providing them with the opportunity to create individual development paths.

Employee programs may include additional training for professional development, integration or equal opportunities.


CSR areas

Another CSR tool is social campaigns, i.e. influencing the attitudes of society through the media. The aim of such activities is to help those in need and to increase social awareness on specific, important topics - e.g. environmental protection or women's rights.

One cannot forget about activities for the benefit of the local community. It is about all projects for the environment in which the company operates. Such as supporting local institutions, supporting programs for children and youth, supporting investments (e.g. road construction), cooperation with the local government.

How to plan a CSR strategy?

CSR activities will bring the best results (and will be positively received by the society) if they assume long-term development. A strategy is necessary to consciously and responsibly create individual steps. The strategy should take into account the overall vision of the brand, its features and nature. Planning of activities can be more or less formalized. It all depends on the culture, size and type of the organization. In each case, you should consciously specify your goals, create the next steps thoughtfully and constantly monitor the progress of the strategy.

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The process of implementing the corporate social responsibility strategy according to the WE Deming model assumes four stages:

  1. Plan (planning)
  2. To (action)
  3. Check
  4. Act (execution)

Planning (Plan) is the determination of actions/processes necessary to achieve the assumed goals. These activities should be consistent with the company's policy, its vision and the requirements of the recipient group. This is also the time to define stakeholders (people affected by the organization's activities and people who can influence the organization), context of activities and priorities.

At this stage, the company defines CSR thematic areas. For this purpose, it may refer to the assumptions of the ISO 26000 standard, which lists such areas as: organizational governance, human rights, work practices, environment, business ethics, consumer issues, social development. Considerations should be based on a reliable, detailed assessment of the current situation and the potential effects that the strategy may have.

After planning, it's time for Action. It is nothing more than the implementation of planned steps. The first versions of the activities are implemented on a trial basis. This allows you to assess their effectiveness and draw appropriate conclusions that will serve as the basis for modifying the strategy.

At the action stage, effectiveness is of great importance corporate communicationwhich enables efficient determination of the rules for the implementation of activities and information on the effects of these activities.

communication plan

The Check stage consists in measuring the effects of the strategy - that is, determining whether the actions brought the expected results or whether the set goals were achieved. After the analysis, possible corrective actions that will improve the strategy should be identified.

Act is the implementation of improved solutions. At this stage, one should remember about constant monitoring of the activities carried out. This will allow you to assess their effectiveness and make corrections at the right moment.

Popular areas of CSR in Poland

CSR areas in Poland are similar to those in other European countries, although each market also has its own specificity. "The dynamic development of CSR in Poland dating back to the beginning of the 21st century is closely related to the inflow of a large number of foreign investors." – noted in the report of the Ministry of Economy on this subject.

However, even global corporations adapt CSR areas to the social context in individual markets. For example, Coca Cola in the US focuses primarily on issues of racial equality. In Poland, she emphasizes the topic of women's rights and recycling.

Environmental protection is a particularly attractive topic for us. It is not too controversial, although by dealing with, for example, the subject of the Białowieża Forest, you can also subtly show your commitment to current affairs. It can also be scaled - from cleaning the local park or forest to a nationwide social campaign.

Attachment to tradition and family means that initiatives supporting local communities, small farms and family initiatives gain great recognition in Poland.

CSR areas

Why do companies use CSR?

Well-chosen areas of CSR can revive the corporate reality, motivate employees and favor the public opinion. When it comes to employer branding, young people are able to endure many inconveniences, if "their" company has an image of friendly and committed to appropriate areas of CSR. Commitment to the environment not only does not have to cost anything, but can also translate into profits by cutting the amount of raw materials used. Many companies use specific CSR activities as PR tool, knowing that it has a positive impact on their image.

Public opinion today is highly polarized. Judgments on social media are made quickly, often based on a few sentences or a photo. A company involved in environmental or human rights issues can more easily get out of a difficult situation by relying on its current CSR program.

On the other hand, such campaigns can also have their downsides. The main one is the screening of noble actions by the media or the public. If it turns out that the areas of CSR are mainly implemented at the level of declarations and PR, it may turn against the company. Especially when it comes to accusations of environmental damage or failure to respect workers' rights.


CSR areas

Interesting research on CSR was conducted at the University of Chicago. During the research, one of the companies employed 3,000 temporary workers to transcribe text. Part of their salary was paid in advance, knowing that this would encourage unfair behavior.

Indeed, some employees cheated or avoided work. Some were told that the company donated a percentage of profits to support UNICEF. In this group, fraud occurred 20 percent more often. more often than in the others. Still others were told that UNICEF support would be "on behalf of the workers" - they cheated by 30%. more often than average. It turned out that the sense of duty well fulfilled (UNICEF support) resulted in lower commitment to work. Employees felt that they had already supported important areas of CSR, so they did not have to contribute to what was their basic responsibility.  

Who should use social responsibility tools?

Every socially responsible company is aware of this by documenting its activities through social reports. Not only market giants, but also every small company can engage in CSR and take care of environmental aspects. It is worth fighting the myth that CSR applies to large corporations and smaller entities cannot significantly influence the development of the local community or the development of employees. Investing in human resources always makes sense. The management strategy that takes into account the goals of sustainable development proves that the company is socially responsible. Customers appreciate it more and more.

Do you want your CSR activities to be effective and at the same time support the growth of results? contact us - our experts will propose the implementation of appropriate measures.

Worth knowing:

What does corporate social responsibility look like on the example of a company?

Corporate social responsibility, or CSR for short, is a very important topic in the modern world. Companies realize that their impact on society and the natural environment is huge. That is why they are increasingly taking actions that contribute to improving the living conditions of people and protecting our planet. One example of such activities is investment in the development of local communities, sponsorship of cultural events and environmental protection activities. It is worth noting that most companies are increasingly boldly including CSR-related activities in their strategies, which improves the quality of life in society and preserves ecological balance

What are the basic CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities undertaken by companies?

Nowadays, more and more companies pay attention to the impact of their activities on the surrounding environment and the community. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), i.e. corporate social responsibility, has become one of the elements of building the reputation of companies. The basic CSR activities undertaken by enterprises include: taking care of good working conditions for employees, environmental protection, supporting charity activities and striving for ethical and sustainable business conduct. Companies attach more and more importance to social responsibility, which contributes to building a positive brand image and increasing employee involvement in work in a given company.

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