CSR: Types of CSR Programs

Aug 3, 2021 | by Yosy Christy Natalia

What are the types of CSR program?

“CSR program is generally understood as being the way through which a company achieves a balance of economic, environmental and social imperatives, while at the same time addressing the expectations of shareholders and stakeholders,” United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). 

Corporate Social Responsibility is a way for an organization to generate positive social impact and has various other benefits for the organization as well. A CSR initiative can be best described as a business plan to achieve economic, social, and environmental benefits for various stakeholders such as consumers, investors, employees, among others. 

The benefits of conducting a CSR program, designing a robust strategy, and implementing campaign activities are some of the key aspects covered previously. In this blog, we aim to delve deeper and enable an understanding of the various types of CSR programs. 

The UNIDO describes some of the key CSR issues as, “environmental management, eco-efficiency, responsible sourcing, stakeholder engagement, labor standards, and working conditions, employee and community relations, social equity, gender balance, human rights, good governance, and anti-corruption measures”.

There could be many types of CSR programs but some of the most common ones are broadly categorized into environmental, ethical or philanthropic, and economic. Let’s go over each one of them in detail.

Environmental CSR

Most companies, depending on their business model, aim to minimize the negative impact on the environment through their CSR effort. This segment of CSR activities received great traction in wake of climate change, increased pollution levels, and threats to the environment – an attempt to assure that corporate entities of the world can be as environment-friendly as possible. 

While several countries have made it compulsory for businesses to report their greenhouse emissions, many corporate entities have now voluntarily resorted to cutting down their carbon footprint and waste.

One such example of environmental CSR would be restaurant chains, both local and global, ditching single-use plastic and adopting more environment-friendly packaging and cutlery.

Environmental CSR would include initiatives aimed at reducing wastage, water consumption, greenhouse emissions; increasing sustainable activities and resources.

Ethical and philanthropic CSR 

This would broadly include everything under the sun including charities for various purposes and causes, human rights, fair trade, community upliftment, educational programs, health initiatives, among others. The hallmark of ethical CSR is to ensure fair treatment to all stakeholders. 

Cruelty-free cosmetics brands, among other entities, have the very premise of their business model dedicated toward a cause – animal welfare and ban on animal testing, this could very well fit into the bracket of ethical CSR. Some corporations run a full-fledged campaign against child labor in markets where the activity may have been traditionally reported.

“Philanthropic responsibility refers to a business’s aim to actively make the world and society a better place,” reads a blog on types of CSR programs by the Harvard Business School.   

Google is known for its corporate philanthropy. The company has long been vested in uplifting and improving regions across the globe, providing learning opportunities, empowering communities through many of its programs.  

Economic CSR

An organization’s economic responsibility translates into the firm ensuring that its financial decisions are taken to meet its CSR commitment – that the end goal is a mix of realizing profits while also ensuring a positive impact on the environment and society at large. 

A  company’s CSR effort can be tailor-made as per its business model and also to address the socio-environmental, economic challenges it sets out to address. When nudged in the right direction, an effective CSR program can prove to be a valuable asset and can go a long way in establishing the organization as one that cares for the larger good besides simply maximizing profits and enhancing business performance.

Read also:

CSR: Conducting CSR Activities

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