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Friday, August 15, 2008

Balancing Corporate Social Responsibility and ROI

Should return on investment be the main concern for companies considering an official Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy?

Just how much is considered a solid RIO to move forward with the practices?

While business is obviously about providing a service or good and making the biggest profit, I find it a bit discouraging that for a business to behave ethically, there must be a payoff. We may be going down a dangerous path allowing this trend of thought.

The less concerned the head of the organization is with being ethical, the less concerned middle management and lower level workers will be.

From my experience, the smaller the company is in terms of being able to come in under the radar of public scrutiny, the less concerned they are with CSR.

Although the “Green Movement” has brought wide-spread attention to the efforts of being more socially and environmentally conscious, it is still evident that as long as investors and owners are financial set, the ethical, environmental or social effects of business practices are considered in passing.

Without a distinct realm of responsibility to inhabit, CSR tends to fall between the cracks.

An internal Marketing Department is usually the catch-all for company issues affecting everything from income generation and profit & loss to curb appeal and construction model schematics.

If the company cannot establish a separate department for CSR, I propose that the Marketing Department be at the helm of CSR efforts.

Communicating the companies CSR efforts to employees, the general public, and to potential investors as progressive and innovative is in itself, the greatest return on investment.

What has been your experience with Corporate Social Responsibility?
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