Adapted from Rotary Down Under, July 31, 2018
Unlike conventional corporate models, where business and moral decision making can be clearly differentiated, in the case of Rotary, Doing Good is our business – the two are intrinsically linked, not separate entities. With Corporate Social Responsibility moving from the realm of voluntary self-regulation at the level of individual organisations, to mandatory schemes at regional, national and even transnational levels, Rotary could not be better placed to lead the CSR charge through both example and collaboration.
What is Corporate Social Responsibility?
The term corporate social responsibility (CSR) encompasses the idea that businesses have a responsibility to behave ethically, especially in the areas their businesses affect. This means not only regarding economic consequences, but also social and environmental implications.
Due to the
dramatic increase of corporate economic might and political influence in recent
decades, there is growing acceptance that businesses have a major part to play
alongside governments and other groups in ensuring human rights and other moral
Being a good
corporate citizen includes behaving in an ethical manner towards those who come
into direct contact with a business, such as employees and customers. It also
extends to those with whom a business is in indirect contact, for example those
working for overseas suppliers, and involves giving back to the community
through providing funding or participating in charitable works.
Examples of corporate responsibility include:
• Responsible sourcing, such as using only fair-trade ingredients;
• Ensuring ethical working standards;
• Contributing to community projects;
• Employee volunteer programs;
• Environmental management, including waste reduction and sustainability practices.
Undertaking corporate responsibility initiatives benefits not only society, but also businesses themselves. Today, increasing numbers of consumers and investors don’t just prefer, but expect responsible business practice. Companies that operate fairly within the community reap the rewards – those caught behaving badly face backlash, with customers choosing to shop elsewhere en masse.
Benefits of corporate responsibility for businesses include:
• Competitive advantage over other industry players;
• Building of a strong, positive brand;
• Increased sales and customer loyalty;
• Potential positive media attention
• Greater ability to attract quality staff;
• Better financial performance and organisational growth.
The Business of Rotary
by PDG Keith Roffey
D9675 Council on Legislation Representative 2017-20
Collaboration – a word we hear a lot these days – was the first word that came to my mind recently while attending the Rotary District 9125 Conference in Nigeria. The conference was very much a business orientated conference; the presentations highlighted the value and importance of working with corporates, governments, the military and local businesses.
I was fortunate to be among these corporate, political and military leaders, all collaborating and working with Rotary to address the needs of the less fortunate people in Nigeria. And, indeed, polio eradication was a high priority.
I was impressed
by what I saw, and it made me reflect on what the real business of Rotary is. Rotary’s
responsibilities are to humanity, our current membership does not own Rotary,
we are caretaking our organisation for the next generation of Rotarians. We must
provide for the future, but be prepared for it to overtake us. With the fast
and furious changes businesses are having on our world, with corporate
responsibilities and governmental legislation constantly evolving, not to
mention the change in attitudes to volunteering, for us to continue to achieve
our ideals and provide for the future we really need to consider the real
business of Rotary. I believe we must put greater emphasis on collaborating and
setting up strategic alliances locally to our clubs. Why? Because that was the
origins of Rotary; the principals worked then and they will work now.
We must put our
minds to this and set the example for the next generation, as it is not about
sitting down and having nice conversations with nice objectives, it is a
process that today our traditional structures of communication can’t achieve.
A strategic alliance is an arrangement between two organisations that have decided to share resources to undertake a specific, mutually beneficial project. It is less involved and less binding than a partnership, but typically resources are pooled to create effective value of highly diversified teams working together.
the drive and the passion, we have proved that, but we do not always have the
expertise. Polio eradication is surely a great example of this; we are not
doing it alone.
The Rotary Club
of Abuja Metro, Nigeria, approached its local government and asked, “Where was
the need?” The need was an area of approximately 100,000 people, who literally
had nothing. The club has provided them a water well, a school and is now
completing a hospital, and they are achieving this by collaborating and
alliancing their club with their local government and local corporates. It is a
long-term goal, annually, each incoming president commits to another phase of
the project. And the local government is committed to maintaining and managing
the projects on completion.