Embrace Blog Post – Industry Focus III

by Carmel Somers – Digital Technology Skills Limited (DTSL)

The third in a series of blog posts which looks at Corporate Social Entrepreneurship as the end point of a journey which begins with Corporate Social Responsibility.

Corporate Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) is ‘a way of doing business’ so that all staff in any given organisation (public, private or third sector) are fully aware of their role, responsibility and contribution to the sustainable socioeconomic enhancement of their organisations and the communities in which they live and work. The CSE process includes: creating an enabling entrepreneurial environment, fostering corporate social intrapreneurship, amplifying corporate purpose and values as well as building strategic alliances in order to solve economic and social problems and to promote the success of emerging innovative business strategies.

Corporate Social Responsibility – In Practice

Corporate Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) is a relatively new area which has its origins in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).  Before we take a look at CSE, it’s worth taking a look at examples of CSR activities companies are engaging in.  

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has evolved over that past number of years.  Organisations recognise that to maximise their economic growth for the benefit of stakeholders, clients, suppliers and employees, and to minimise their impact on the environment, requires they visualise the business through a different lens.  CSR has become that lens.

CSR is a conscious way of looking at an organisation’s operations with an understanding that producing high quality products and services, good governance and employee policies, and having a healthy respect for the environment has its rewards.  Organisations who engage in CSR activities in these areas build a positive reputation, maintain and grow their client base, retain and engage employees, and can access the best talent and increase profits.

Examples of CSR activities vary by organisation ranging from internal focused activities and small local community projects to large global projects.  Regardless of an organisation’s size activities conducted under the CSR banner include: reducing the organisation’s carbon footprint, participating in fair trade activities, charitable giving, volunteering in local and global societal projects, improving labour policies, conducting activities and implementing policies that are socially and environmentally friendly.

For many companies the drive to be more socially responsible is not just driven by the leadership team. Millennials and Generation Z are looking to work for companies that are contributing to society in addition to making a profit.  Companies should share what they are doing to grow awareness of activities that are making a positive impact for the organisation, it’s shareholders, employees, partners, clients and society.

A few examples of Corporate Social Responsibility in action in organisations ranging from products, local volunteering, global societal and environmental projects to employee labour policies.

LEGO Group has committed to make all of its products and packaging from sustainable materials by 2030.   The first step in 2019 saw Lego bricks being made from plant-based plastic which is sourced from sugar cane. 

Since 2006 TOMS has run a One for One campaign.  For every pair of shoes purchased a child in need will receive a free pair.  This has resulted in a donation of over 60 million pairs of shoes across 70 countries. TOMS didn’t stop there as they are also providing free sight care for over 400,000 people in need and expanded this to provide prescription glasses and sight saving surgery with each pair of eye glasses purchased. They have progressed to provide clean water and safer birth campaigns in its sustainable environment and community outreach projects. 

Starbucks engaged with Ethos Water creating a campaign to bring clean water to 1 billion people around the world. A percentage of the sales of bottles of Ethos Water goes towards the campaign.  The Starbucks Foundation has been investing in local communities for over 20 years with a strong focus on helping people overcome barriers and engage in job and training opportunities.  One area where this is prevalent is in their policy to hire veterans.

Microsoft Philanthropies partner with NGOs, organisations, and schools to improve computer science education through technology. They also champion organisations that aim to improve the quality of life for people in Washington and their employees volunteer providing their time and skill. Microsoft matches employee financial and time-based contributions doubling the value of the overall voluntary contribution.

Netflix and Spotify offer benefits to support employees and their families. Netflix provides 52 weeks of paid parental leave which employees, including birth and adoptive parents of any gender can take at full pay following the birth or adoption of their child.  This leave can be  taken at any time whether it is the first year of the child’s life or another time that suits the parent’s needs.  Spotify has a similar program for a duration of 24 weeks paid leave.

In the next blog post (4) we will explore what Corporate Social Entrepreneurship is and how it is evolving to become the future of CSR. 

Embrace is an EU funded Research Project to promote Corporate Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) in HEI educational programmes and improve students’ competences, employability and attitudes contributing to the creation of new business opportunities dealing with social change inside companies as well as promoting collaboration among companies.

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