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Are we green or are we mean? Corporate social responsibility and its impact on the environment and company profitability


Introduction – Corporate Social Responsibility and its relevance in today’s social climate

Climate change. Pollution. Environmentalism. Carbon Tax. Emissions! END OF DAYS!

No doubt you have been hearing these words of late. In our current zeitgeist within our global village we are constantly bombarded with notions of sustainability and what the future holds for our progeny and their generations. Now there are skeptics and believers on both sides where these parameters and future doomsday predictions ring true or false for them, but whenever discussing the tangible and intangible it’s always important to distinguish between what can be proven and what can’t be. To even further this point we can take a leaf out of Karl Popper’s 1935 Logik der Forschung (The Logic of Research) where Popper eloquently describes the issue of facts and falsehood by highlighting that things that can’t be proven fall under pseudoscience and those that can have corroborating evidence fall under the umbrella of science, or at least scientific discourse. As we can clearly see, the world is changing by the evidence of our direct human impact on it. So where do we go from here?

Now you are probably wondering what all of this has to do with something we like to call in the biz Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Well as you have undoubtedly noticed, a lot of issues regarding this grand issue of sustainability has fallen on the shoulders of companies to take it upon themselves to mitigate. Sustainability protects the environment and human and ecological health by driving innovation. Mitigation of environmental problems can be the result of proper CSR implementation. CSR can come in all forms but it is primarily based in three forms; economic, environmental and social. 

A driving force of CSR is that companies often expect to increase their profits through CSR behavior. CSR is a management concept through which companies implement both social and environmental matters in their business operations. Proper implementation of the CSR ideology can provide a variety of competitive advantages, such as extended access to capital and markets, increased sales and profits, or cost savings. This is very evident in EU markets as more and more companies are taking this initiative to fight climate change and pollution, whilst looking to maximise profits and capitalize on their corporate image.  

Throughout this article we are going to define CSR, its implications and how Sparta Loyalty is leading the way in CSR with it’s implementations and future outlook. 

CSR – It’s concept and structure relative to company operations

It all sounds too good to be true right? Well CSR as a concept is very noble but it’s implementation is far more complicated than first thought. Throughout this discussion we will be addressing a recent paper that was conducted in the EU, close to the Polish border; Dubravská M, Marchevská M, Vašaničová P, Kotulič R. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management Linkage: An Empirical Analysis of the Slovak Republic. Sustainability. 2020’.

The aim of the CSR is to change company behavior, moving it towards sustainability and ethical environmental practices. Dubravská et al state that it is the responsibility of companies to eliminate negative effects on society and evaluate long-term beneficial effects. CSR, as a corporate activity, has been highly respected in recent years, and organizations all around the world are increasingly implementing it.

As we mentioned before the three pillars on which CSR is based on are:
–    Economic
–    Social
–    Environmental 

Figure 1. (a) Carroll Pyramid for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); (b) the intersecting circles model; (c) the concentric circle model – Dubravská et al 2020.

As we can observe, the Carroll CSR pyramid represents a simple framework that explains arguments about the social obligations of companies. Key characteristics of the Carroll CSR pyramid are the following:
(i) The CSR is based on the profit principle
(ii) the subsequent reference is based on confidence that all activities are in accordance within legal parameters
(iii) before the company considers its philanthropic options, it has to complete their ethical obligations 

The intersecting circles (IC) model of the CSR differs from the pyramid model in two main ways:

(i) it identifies the option of relationships among CSR domains
(ii) it disclaims the hierarchy of importance. 

The concentric circle model is the same as the pyramid model as it accepts the social importance of the economy of business. Moreover, like the IC model, the concentric circle model contrasts the mutual relations between various corporate social responsibilities. The only factors that differ between these two models in their definitions of corporate responsibilities.

What is the impact of CSR and what it holds for the future

So what does it all add up to? Is all of this stuff really worth it?

Global trends have shown that most economically developed industries respect both environmental protection and social welfare as well as the economic value creation that it provides. Companies that concentrate on an improvement of human life and welfare, as well as the effective use of the ecological resources tend to fare better than those who don’t. Not only does CSR affect the environment and fiscal parts of society and companies but it also allows the company to be viewed in a better light, being social. Sounding familiar? The three pillars we talked about before?

In Dubravská et al 2020 they clearly showed a persistent growth in companies who actively were a part of CSR but other examples in the global marketplace are extremely prevalent. 

We can see Google’s CSR implementation with their data center using 50% less energy than others in the world. They also have committed over $1 billion to renewable energy projects and enable other businesses to reduce their environmental impact through services such as Gmail.

Another prime example is GE and the implementation of their Ecomagination initiative and its renewable business strategy with a goal to double down on clean technology and generate $20 billion in revenue from green products. 

Furthermore, Johnson & Johnson has an excellent example of CSR as they have focused on reducing their impact on the environment for over three decades. Their initiatives range from leveraging the power of the wind to providing safe water to communities around the world. Its purchase of a privately-owned energy supplier in the Texas Panhandle allowed the company to reduce pollution while providing a renewable, economical alternative to electricity. They also are seeking more sustainable measures to power their companies by claiming to have 35% of their needs from renewables.

Moreover, as time goes on, more and more companies are initiating CSR plans into their businesses and seeing results. But you ask, how does Sparta Loyalty fit into all of this? – let’s find out!

Sparta Loyalty’s leading role in CSR

Sparta Loyalty has been at the forefront of CSR with a firm commitment to stay as environmentally friendly as possible while maintaining the best service it can to it’s clients.

Our experience in our business practises has taught us the importance of sustainability and its advantages. One of our greatest feats is implementing our loyalty programs through using digital alternatives, such as applications or programs that are based solely in the digital spectrum. This inturn removes the need for plastic cards which in effect cause pollution and overall increase costs. The implementation of our non-contact solutions is class leading as they also provide the benefit of a more hygienic exchange between customers and companies, which is extremely important in times of a global pandemic. Furthermore, we actively engage in always using more modern and environmentally friendly modalities for clients.

Don’t take it from us, hear what one of our customers have said;

‘With full responsibility, we recommend the services provided by Spartavity to all who are interested in having a modern and functional tool to support marketing strategies – Izabela Karolczyk-Szafrańska – Marketing Director, InPost Sp. z o.o’

Not only is Sparta staying ahead of the curve with new and innovative ideas but we are able to help businesses take the appropriate steps in CSR involvement. The only question is that are you ready to take the next step? Contact us and we will help you achieve more than you can imagine. 

Dubravská M, Marchevská M, Vašaničová P, Kotulič R. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management Linkage: An Empirical Analysis of the Slovak Republic. Sustainability. 2020’.

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