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Doing Good is Good Business

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 standards.


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.

Rotarians have 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.