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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Business Studies Grade 12 Study Notes

On this page, grade 12 students learn and study for revision using questions based on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) topic, using activities and engaging quizzes. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Business Studies Grade 12 Study Notes

Every South African grade 12 learner who wants to pass Business Studies subject with a distinction, needs to go through the valuable study resources on this page.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Business Studies Grade 12

  • Corporate Social Responsibility/CSR is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the local community and society at large.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility/CSR is the way a business conducts its operations ethically and morally, regarding the use of human, physical and financial resources.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility is an obligation required by law and benefits both business and society.

Purpose of CSR 

  • CSR programmes are internal programmes that businesses use to comply with laws and ethics.
  • Key areas of concern are protecting the environment, the wellbeing of employees from the community and civil society in general.
  • Businesses seek to promote public interest and do away with harmful practices without the need for any formal legislation.
  • Business operations address Triple bottom line through CSR programmes by considering its impact on people, profit and planet.
  • CSR aims at creating a safe working environment for employees.
  • CSR programmes and activities the business undertakes to contribute positively to the community in which the business operates.
  • CSR may take the form of a monetary donation to support local organisations

Components of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) 

  • Environment
  • Ethical corporate social investment
  • Health and safety
  • Corporate governance
  • Business ethics
  • Employment equity
  • Supply chain/Distribution channel
  • Customers
  • Community

The Triple Bottom Line

The Triple Bottom Line (TBL) is a framework for measuring the sustainability of a company that considers three aspects of its performance: economic, social, and environmental. The Triple Bottom Line concept was first introduced by John Elkington in 1994, and it has since become a widely used approach for measuring and reporting the sustainability of a business.

The three aspects of the Triple Bottom Line are:

  1. Economic: This aspect of the TBL considers the financial performance and profitability of a company, as well as its economic impact on stakeholders, such as employees, shareholders, and suppliers.
  2. Social: This aspect of the TBL considers the social impact of a company, including its relationships with stakeholders, its impact on communities, and its management of human and labor rights.
  3. Environmental: This aspect of the TBL considers the environmental impact of a company, including its use of natural resources, its waste management practices, and its contribution to climate change.

The Triple Bottom Line approach to sustainability recognizes that a company’s success is not just measured by its financial performance, but also by its social and environmental impact. By considering all three aspects of its performance, a company can assess its sustainability and identify areas for improvement, which can lead to better long-term outcomes for the company and its stakeholders.

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The Triple Bottom Line Relationship with Social Responsibility of a Business

Triple Bottom Line PillarRelationship with Social Responsibility
EconomicThe economic pillar of the Triple Bottom Line refers to the financial performance of a business. Social responsibility requires businesses to consider not just their own profitability but also the economic well-being of their stakeholders, such as employees, customers, suppliers, and the local community. This may involve providing fair wages and benefits, supporting local businesses and suppliers, and contributing to community development projects.
SocialThe social pillar of the Triple Bottom Line focuses on the impact of a business on society. Social responsibility requires businesses to address social issues and improve the well-being of their stakeholders, including employees, customers, and the broader community. This may involve promoting diversity and inclusion, ensuring safe and healthy working conditions, protecting consumer rights and privacy, engaging in philanthropic activities, and addressing social issues such as poverty and inequality.
EnvironmentalThe environmental pillar of the Triple Bottom Line emphasizes the ecological impact of a business’s operations. Social responsibility requires businesses to be environmentally responsible by minimizing their ecological footprint, preserving natural resources, and preventing pollution. This may involve adopting sustainable business practices, investing in renewable energy, implementing waste reduction and recycling programs, and adhering to environmental regulations and certifications.

The Triple Bottom Line (TBL) and social responsibility of a business are closely related concepts. The TBL framework considers the economic, social, and environmental impact of a company, and social responsibility involves a company’s voluntary actions to improve society and the environment, beyond what is required by law.

For example, a company that prioritizes the TBL might focus on reducing its carbon footprint and conserving natural resources, while also promoting fair labor practices and supporting local communities. By considering all three aspects of the TBL, a company can assess its overall impact on society and the environment and make decisions that promote sustainability and social responsibility.

The TBL and social responsibility of a business are intertwined, as companies that prioritize the TBL are often also committed to social responsibility and sustainability. By considering both the financial performance and the social and environmental impact of their operations, companies can make informed decisions that promote long-term success and benefit society and the environment.

Components of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) 

  1. Environment: This component involves a company’s efforts to minimize its impact on the environment, including reducing its carbon footprint, conserving natural resources, and promoting sustainable practices in its operations and supply chain management.
  2. Ethical corporate social investment: This component involves a company’s efforts to invest in initiatives that align with its values and promote social and environmental sustainability.
  3. Health and safety: This component involves a company’s efforts to promote health and safety in its operations, including providing safe working conditions and promoting wellness programs for employees.
  4. Corporate governance: This component involves a company’s efforts to maintain good governance practices, including transparency, accountability, and responsible decision-making.
  5. Business ethics: This component involves a company’s efforts to conduct its business in an ethical and responsible manner, including adhering to ethical standards, complying with laws and regulations, and avoiding actions that may harm stakeholders or the environment.
  6. Employment equity: This component involves a company’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including promoting equal opportunity and fair treatment for all employees.
  7. Supply chain/Distribution channel: This component involves a company’s efforts to promote sustainability and responsibility in its supply chain, including working with suppliers to reduce waste and promote ethical practices.
  8. Customers: This component involves a company’s efforts to understand and respond to the needs and concerns of its customers, including promoting customer satisfaction and promoting ethical marketing practices.
  9. Community: This component involves a company’s efforts to support and improve the communities in which it operates, including contributing to community initiatives and promoting sustainable and responsible business practices.

These components of CSR reflect a company’s broader responsibilities to society and the environment, and they can help to promote long-term success and sustainability for the company and its stakeholders.

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Advantages or Benefits of CSR for Business and Community

CSR Advantages for Businesses:

  1. Improved reputation and brand image: CSR initiatives can enhance a company’s reputation and promote positive brand image, helping to attract customers and employees who value socially and environmentally responsible business practices.
  2. Increased customer loyalty and satisfaction: Customers are increasingly likely to support companies that prioritize social and environmental responsibility, leading to increased customer loyalty and satisfaction.
  3. Enhanced employee morale and motivation: CSR initiatives can improve employee morale and motivation by creating a positive workplace culture and promoting employee well-being.
  4. Improved relationships with stakeholders: CSR initiatives can help to improve relationships with stakeholders, including customers, employees, shareholders, and communities.
  5. Increased competitiveness and innovation: CSR initiatives can promote innovation and competitiveness by encouraging companies to find new and sustainable ways of doing business.
  6. Compliance with regulations and standards: CSR initiatives can help companies comply with environmental and social regulations and standards, reducing the risk of fines and legal action.
  7. Better risk management: CSR initiatives can help companies manage risks related to social and environmental issues, reducing the likelihood of negative impacts on the business.
  8. Attraction of investment and financing: CSR initiatives can help companies attract investment and financing from socially responsible investors who prioritize sustainability and responsibility in their investment decisions.
  9. Improved access to new markets and customers: CSR initiatives can help companies access new markets and customers by promoting sustainable and responsible business practices that appeal to a wider range of consumers.
  10. Positive impact on society and the environment: CSR initiatives can have a positive impact on society and the environment, helping to promote sustainability and address social and environmental challenges.

CSR Disadvantages on Business

  • Business may not be supported/Customers may not buy their products/services resulting in a decrease in sales.
  • Small and medium enterprises find it difficult to implement CSI programmes.
  • Detailed reports must be drawn up, which can be time-consuming.
  • Social spending reduces business/economic efficiency which makes it less competitive.
  • Social involvement is funded from business profits which could have been used to benefit of customers/reduce prices.
  • CSI activities distract business focus from its core business functions.
  • Businesses find it difficult to adhere to legislation governing CSI.
  • It can increase financial risk, as programmes cost money and may impact negatively on profits.
  • It is difficult to accurately measure the effectiveness of social investment.
  • It is not easy to determine the exact needs of the communities, which may result in fruitless expenditure on CSI.
  • Most managers are not trained/lack experience to handle social programmes.
  • Employees may spend more time working on CSI projects instead of focusing on their core duties.
  • Providing goods/services that meet the needs of consumers is, according to some stakeholders, already socially responsible.
  • Shareholders may receive less dividends, as some profits are spent on CSI.
  • Some shareholders/stakeholders might withdraw their support from the business as they feel that social issues should be the government’s responsibility.

CSR Advantages for Communities:

The advantages or benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for the community can include:

  1. Improved reputation: CSR can help a company to improve its reputation by demonstrating its commitment to social and environmental sustainability, which can increase public trust and support for the company.
  2. Increased customer loyalty: CSR can increase customer loyalty by promoting positive brand associations and demonstrating a company’s commitment to values that are important to customers, such as environmental protection and ethical business practices.
  3. Better relationships with stakeholders: CSR can help a company to build better relationships with its stakeholders, including customers, employees, suppliers, and communities, by fostering trust and promoting sustainability and responsibility.
  4. Enhanced community engagement: CSR can enhance a company’s engagement with the communities in which it operates, including through community initiatives, philanthropy, and support for local organizations.
  5. Increased employee morale and engagement: CSR can increase employee morale and engagement by promoting a positive workplace culture and demonstrating a company’s commitment to values such as environmental protection and ethical business practices.
  6. Improved access to capital: CSR can improve a company’s access to capital by demonstrating its commitment to sustainability and responsibility, which can attract investment from socially responsible investors.
  7. Improved risk management: CSR can help a company to manage risks related to environmental and social issues, including through improved environmental practices and stakeholder engagement.
  8. Increased competitiveness: CSR can increase a company’s competitiveness by promoting innovation, improving brand reputation, and attracting talent and investment.
  9. Better resource management: CSR can help a company to better manage its resources, including through improved waste management, energy efficiency, and sustainable supply chain practices.
  10. Positive impact on society: CSR can have a positive impact on society by promoting sustainability, supporting communities, and promoting ethical and responsible business practices.

CSR can bring numerous benefits to the community, including improved reputation, increased customer loyalty, better relationships with stakeholders, enhanced community engagement, and a positive impact on society. By promoting sustainability and responsibility, CSR can help companies to achieve long-term success and contribute to a better future for communities and the environment.

CSR Disadvantage for Communities:

  • Businesses are not always equipped to address social problems.
  • Communities tend to be dependent on CSR programmes and struggle to take their own initiatives.
  • Distribution of scarce resources to selected beneficiaries in the community may cause problems such as discrimination.
  • Some businesses only participate in CSR initiatives to raise profit and do not really care for the community in which they operate.
  • Businesses cannot meet the longer-term needs of the society/Business cannot deliver sustainable CSR programmes.
  • The benefits of the programmes may not filter to the intended persons within the community.
  • Spending money on CSR programmes means the business has to recover expenses through higher prices which have a negative impact on the economy.
  • Businesses tend to focus on CSR programmes that does not directly benefit the community.
  • Less money is available for community projects during unfavourable economic conditions.
  • Consumers are not easily convinced that a business is acting in the best interest of the community and the environment.
  • A business often appears to benefit more from the CSR expenditure than the perceived benefits to the communities.

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How Individuals can Contribute to CSR

Individuals can contribute to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in several ways, including:

  1. Support socially responsible companies: Choose to buy products and services from companies that have a strong CSR record and support their efforts to promote sustainability and responsibility.
  2. Reduce waste: Reduce the amount of waste you generate by recycling, composting, and avoiding single-use products.
  3. Conserve energy: Conserve energy by turning off lights and electronics when not in use, using energy-efficient appliances, and reducing car use.
  4. Support community initiatives: Volunteer your time and resources to support community initiatives and organizations that promote sustainability and social responsibility.
  5. Advocate for CSR: Advocate for CSR by speaking out on issues you care about, such as environmental protection, fair labor practices, and ethical business practices.
  6. Educate others: Educate others about the importance of CSR by sharing information and promoting sustainable practices, such as conserving energy and reducing waste.
  7. Invest in socially responsible companies: Invest in companies that have a strong CSR record, such as those that promote sustainability and ethical business practices.
  8. Use your voice: Use your voice to advocate for CSR by participating in online campaigns and signing petitions that promote sustainability and responsibility.
  9. Support sustainable products: Support sustainable products by choosing products made from recycled materials, grown using sustainable practices, or made by companies that have a strong CSR record.
  10. Get involved in local initiatives: Get involved in local initiatives that promote sustainability and social responsibility, such as community gardens, recycling programs, and environmentally friendly transportation initiatives.

By taking these actions, individuals can contribute to CSR and help promote sustainability and social responsibility in their communities and beyond.

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