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that it is a good business strategy but, expensive! It is very hard to convince company executives to support it, and worst, many believe that CSR is just for those who have the money to squander to social projects that do not produce concrete outputs to support business goals. There may be some truth in it. However, any serious entrepreneur would agree that issues such as public health issues linked to environmental degradation, climate change, shortage of water, continuing poverty and human rights abuses, coupled with high population growth, increased consumption and resource depletion all pose major threats to business. For Many CSR practitioners, it is clear that they see environment and social issues as one of the major threats to economic value and business success. I would like to use potable water as an example. Potable water is a socially and politically sensitive resource. We have already seen conflicts between communities and businesses over the use of water. In Davao City, a large real estate company failed to get the approval of the City Council to reclassify the land where to establish a mediumdensity housing project because it sits on the city’s aquifer. The need to conserve water for the residents prevailed over the promised economic benefits from the project. Competition over this resource is unlikely to change in the near future. If the business of business is doing good business, then these issues are all going to require the engagement of the private sector. With certainty, I agree that in implementing CSR, the risks are much clearer than benefits. A bit of scenario planning will help you realize that in many cases business survival is going to require engagement with the issues and being part of identifying solutions to them. Nevertheless, there are clear and identifiable benefits associated with CSR when it comes to adding value for instance to both human capital and to products. A number of friends that I interviewed would prefer to be connected to a company with good reputation, and one of their indicators is the company’s involvement in CSR. Meaning, benefits of CSR includes easier recruitment of skilled and motivated staff. Convincing your company’s executive to support CSR would not be difficult if you are able to establish the strategic alignment of CSR with the business providing collaborative solution such as in building image, reputation, and brands. I can bet my whole year’s income if you don’t agree with me, that the increased competition brought about by globalization and information technology progression, credibility is as important as an excellent product. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) can also benefit from improving their image and reputation. Today, there are a growing number of large companies that really want to help promote business with small business sector and they are looking small enterprises that
have established a reputation for good quality, well priced products produced in a way that is seen as socially responsible. CSR for small enterprises could nurture this relationship, thus ensuring their place in the supply chain! Of course, SMEs are limited in their capacity to act, and therefore need to be focused when it comes to CSR and not spread themselves too thin. They should not diffuse themselves with a lot of agendas of different stakeholders. Selecting the most workable and achievable – within the company’s capabilities, would be a good starting point. I am a believer of CSR, and what I am trying to prove is that the potentials of this strategy are limitless to business. There are organizations and individuals that you can consult to help you define your CSR agenda and strategies. One of these organizations is the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP). They can help you explain the CSR concept including the much needed progress monitoring tools. For comments, email to email@example.com