Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Building a Better Business: Corporate Social Responsibility — Integrity in Business

If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we are all one community. We are all a part of one single human family.

We are learning through this great global crisis that we are all interconnected. That we are all wholly dependent on one another, and that means that our actions have wide-ranging, long-lasting consequences. This applies not just to our personal lives, but to our work life as well.

In an increasingly interconnected world, there is simply no such thing as neutrality in work. All work has consequences, for good or for ill. The kind of work we do and how we choose to do it determines whether we will leave this world a better place than we found it — or a worse one.

This article discusses the issue of ethics in modern business and the growing significance of corporate social responsibility as a replacement for traditional profit-only business models. It also provides strategies you can use today to promote integrity and compassion in your workplace.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Put simply, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a business model built upon the premise of giving back to the community. Rather than centering on a standard profits-focused paradigm, CSR seeks to use the power of entrepreneurship to make the world a better place.

CSR initiatives seek to support and advance a range of causes, from promoting environmental sustainability to fighting economic inequality and pretty much everything in between. One of the most powerful aspects of incorporating CSR into your business model is that it enables you, your organization, and your employees to serve a purpose greater than yourselves.

When you work with purpose, your days are enriched with meaning. You’re no longer driven just to increase your productivity or grow your revenues. You’re motivated to make a difference in the world outside your office space and beyond your bank account.

You will see it in the homes you helped to build; the families you helped to feed; the parks you helped to preserve. And that sense of purpose is going to make getting up and going to work each day that much more valuable, that much more important, that much more necessary.

Turning the Tide

One of the most profound changes that the advent of the CSR model has brought to modern business is the practice of putting people before profits. The history of business from the Industrial Revolution to today has all too often been a history of exploitation — of workers, of communities, of entire societies.

Take, for example, the continued use of asbestos in some of the most common industries in the United States and Canada, including constructions and shipyards. Asbestos has been definitively linked to mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of lung cancer.

As a result, asbestos has been banned throughout much of the developed world. And yet workers across North America continue to be exposed each and every day — and they’re dying as a result.

CSR models would never permit the use of such dangerous materials, even if the business costs of eradicating the materials and transitioning to a safer alternative were significant. In the CSR paradigm, there are goals other than, or at least in addition to, profit that businesses are obligated to pursue. 

Becoming a B-Corp

Even if your organization was built on a standard for-profit model, you can always choose to transition your organization to a non-profit or B-corp model. This will not only speak to your vast commitment to integrity and ethics in your business practices, but it will also help you link to vital resources to support you in your new organizational mission.

Transitioning to non-profit, of course, means that your company will by definition have far less disposable income to play around with. But that doesn’t mean you will be limited in the ways you can give back to your community beyond the particular mission your non-profit has been designed to serve.

For instance, you will undoubtedly have access to business resources that you can use to meet a specific community need. If your office has a large meeting space or conference area, you might open it up as a venue where local youth clubs or health organizations can meet. Likewise, if you have company cars, you could donate these to offer seniors free rides to medical appointments.

You can even partner with local, national, or international charities, such as OneCanFeed.org, to raise funds for individuals and families in need. 

The Takeaway

The world of business today is rapidly changing. It’s no longer okay to prioritize profits over people. In an increasingly interconnected world, responsible entrepreneurship requires integrity and ethics. Doing business today means using your work to truly make a difference in the world.

Find Us on Social Media

Key Sponsors

Integrated Family Community Services is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Financial Accountability

IFCS’ Tax ID # 84-0579740