Being socially responsible takes many forms. When people think about social responsibility, they will more than likely look at corporate businesses first. It’s true that corporations carry several types of social responsibility. We take more notice of the types of social responsibility associated with corporations simply because they are more visible and we are more likely to scrutinize their behavior.
Social responsibility falls on all of our shoulders, whether we work at the corporate level or are acting on our own behalf. Our actions, although they are much less visible, still have a profound effect on the world around us. Understanding how we, as a people, affect our world is extremely important.
Different Types of Social Responsibility
There are many types of social responsibility aside, from corporate and personal. Organizational governance, labor practices, human rights, economic, and environmental responsibilities fall on all of our shoulders in some form or another. Whether you are at work or in the comfort of your own home, you have the ability to affect every aspect of the world around you.
Your business practices, buying habits, and personal choices have a trickle-down effect. You may not see the final result, but every choice you make will combine with the choices made by others around you.
No matter what type of social responsibility you are discussing, it all boils down to following the law and knowing the difference between right and wrong. It doesn’t matter if you follow a particular religion or if you simply abide by the Golden Rule, doing what’s right and beneficial to others is the essence of social responsibility on every level.
What Defines Social Responsibility?
Social responsibility is the means of achieving and maintaining some degree of sustainability. This involves incorporating specific principles that help to maintain balance and growth throughout society. Transparency, accountability, and ethical behavior are all part of social responsibility.
Understanding the role we play in our world affects everything within it. Being as socially responsible as we can, ensures that the world around us maintains some semblance of balance and order.
When we are not socially responsible, imbalances occur that result in chaos, disorder, and conflict on almost every level. Deceptive business practices and unfair dealings with family members can add to the chaos and feelings of unrest.
Noticing signs of social irresponsibility and trying to correct them should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
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1. Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility involves making sure that your business practices are as transparent as possible. Ethical business practices, combined with fair labor practices, ensures that your company is protecting the environment and making sure it is not having an adverse or negative effect on its resources or the community and customers who support it.
Establishing guidelines that help to maintain and promote corporate social responsibility throughout your company and its workforce. Using sustainable resources and following fair labor guidelines are good examples of corporate social responsibility.
When it comes to corporate governance, a business leader who is known for making wise financial decisions, fair trade practices, and embracing social responsibility is an asset when it comes to good corporate citizenship.
Corporate responsibility goes far beyond what happens within a business. It also includes who a company chooses to work with. Buying from unscrupulous vendors can damage a company’s reputation. Working with companies that have the same moral standard is important if you want to remain in good standing with your customers who respect you.
Corporate social responsibility initiatives can involve almost any activity from controlling greenhouse gas emissions to streamlining business operations. CSR initiatives can extend across all areas of business.
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2. Environmental Social Responsibility
Environmental responsibility falls on everyone’s shoulders. Minimizing our impact on the environment starts at home. Buying products with minimal packaging and made with recycled materials are just two ways every person can be environmentally responsible.
Businesses of all sizes can manage their environmental impact by recycling whenever possible and using an environmentally friendly manufacturing process. Upgrading to equipment that is more energy efficient is also a good idea and helps with operational cost savings.
Advanced technology continues to improve how businesses function. The more energy-efficient they are, the more cost-effective they are. Business growth depends on our ability to be more environmentally friendly, while at the same time following the company mission.
Everyone plays an important role in maintaining environmental and social responsibility. Our natural resources are limited. Anything we can do as a group benefits all of us. Individuals, communities, organizations, and businesses can all work together to protect the local environment.
Recycling centers and public compost areas can prevent tons of waste from ending up in landfills and city dump areas. Sustainable practices are the key for local communities that are looking for safe environmental practices. Using alternative energy sources is a sign of environmental stewardship that many local communities have started to embrace.
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3. Ethical Social Responsibility
Ethical responsibility involves abiding by the laws of the land as well as business practices that are meant to protect both customers and employees. Transparent business practices that ensure an employee’s rights are protected are essential.
Businesses and organizations that have strong Codes of Ethics in place, ensure that others are treated fairly. Companies that are caught using unethical business practices may be required to pay fines or face sanctions when it comes to selling their products or services. In every industry, ethics plays an integral role in how business is conducted.
Reputable companies follow their Codes of Ethics to the letter. Business leaders are role models in this environment and should always act in an ethical manner. Offering a higher minimum wage and making sure ethical labor practices are followed are key elements when it comes to employee satisfaction.
On a personal level, ethics is often the code or belief system a person lives by. Christians follow the Ten Commandments and the laws laid out in the Bible. Individuals who follow other religions use their belief system as a code of ethics to live by.
Treating people fairly and ensuring they receive the necessities of life are considered ethical practices in most areas of the world. Ethical behavior is a universal concept that transcends economic, corporate, philanthropic, and personal platforms. It crosses into every aspect of your life and how you connect with your world.
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4. Philanthropic Social Responsibility
Philanthropic responsibilities involve giving back to the community. Large corporations often make philanthropic donations to their communities for many reasons. They receive tax credits as well as the publicity that comes with having the company name put on a building, park, or other structure.
Other large, non-profit organizations make philanthropic responsibility their ultimate goal. They do this by raising money and offering services that better the world around them. Philanthropic efforts do not go unnoticed and are a great way to raise awareness.
Promoting education programs is an ideal option for many companies who want to promote the value of scholarships and internships. Potential employees will look at a company’s philanthropic efforts and employee engagement to find out how charitable they really are. Giving to a worthy cause isn’t enough. They need to give back to their employees as well.
Individuals are not always able to make large monetary donations, but they can make other contributions that are substantial in different ways. They can contribute their time and help others who may need assistance after a fire or natural disaster.
Volunteer efforts make a big impact on a community devastated by a natural disaster. Philanthropic donations do not always have to be monetary. Donating time and a variety of items can make just as big a difference as donating money in today’s world.
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5. Economic Social Responsibility
Economic responsibility is also something individuals and businesses alike must be accountable for. The economy determines our cost of living. Prices rise and fall according to supply and demand. While the fluctuations in our economy have to do with the stock market, we all have a hand in being socially responsible when it comes to the economy.
Spending money locally helps to support small businesses that are owned by our friends, family, and neighbors. In small communities, being economically responsible can be the difference between a ghost town and a thriving town where all of the businesses are flourishing.
Large corporations that understand the importance of being economically and socially responsible work to keep their prices low. They look for sustainable and renewable resources that will keep their operating costs low. By streamlining their business practices and staying on top of their financial obligations.
Understanding how the economy works and the role that large business play in keeping prices affordable is important. When it comes to the economy, everyone needs to be more socially responsible.
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6. Cultural Social Responsibility
One of the biggest social responsibilities we have to ourselves is preserving our cultural heritage. Every country, race, belief structure, and people has a “culture” that defines their way of life. Understanding how this culture, or way of living, affects how we see ourselves and how others perceive us is essential.
Preserving our cultural heritage is, not only a social responsibility but a personal one as well. We owe it to future generations to preserve as many cultures as possible so that they don’t die out. Socially responsible practices like hosting cultural festivals are a good place to start.
Many people take their culture very seriously. Not only do they work to preserve it, they must also work to ensure that it stays true to its original belief system. People from other cultures may try to influence another by incorporating new beliefs or ideals.
Keeping the original foundation of a culture intact, is a personal responsibility of every member. It is up to them to follow their beliefs without allowing another culture to dilute or transform the original concepts and beliefs.
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7. Personal Social Responsibility
Personal social responsibility is unique to each individual. As a member of the human race and society in general, we are all obligated in some way to be socially accountable. Whether it be through our job, an organization, or from a personal commitment we have made to ourselves, it is up to us to make the world we live in a better place.
Changing the world for the better doesn’t take a lot of effort. One random act of kindness can change an entire community’s outlook on the future. Having a positive impact on the world around us should always be a personal goal.
Social responsibility on a personal level may not seem significant to some. One person can only make small changes on a social level. It’s those smaller changes, especially those that seem so insignificant, that can sometimes spark greater change.
When one person sets an example that inspires another and that person inspires a few more, the domino effect can begin to take hold. This means the more people who get on board with a concept, the farther and faster it will spread, sparking change on a national or even global level.
Social responsibility is basically the same across the board when you look at what the results. An attempt to be socially responsible in any way will result in the betterment of that aspect of society. Not every type of change will help every person, but it will create some degree of improvement within the social realm that will eventually encompass all of society.
Conforming to social norms is not always the best approach, especially when those norms have been skewed in some way toward a more negative outcome.
Our social responsibility as a people may be to reverse those norms so that a better solution can be found and put in place. If society is to survive and all people are to have the quality of life they deserve, we, as a whole, must learn to do better when it comes to being more socially responsible. Take a few moments and look around.
What changes would you like to see in your community and on a global level? What role are you capable of playing? How far do you believe your social responsibility extends and across what types (corporate, economic, environmental, philanthropic, or cultural)? Do you believe that you have the ability to spark a greater change?
Of all of the different types of social responsibility, there are, personal social responsibility may be the most important. Our personal choices affect every aspect of our lives as well as how we interact with the rest of society. It is up to us to make the right choices and apply them to every area of our lives.