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CSR STRATEGY AND STRATEGIC CSR (一)

ACCA P1 考试:CSR STRATEGY AND STRATEGIC CSR (一)
There is a new entry in the Paper P1 study guide from June 2015 in section E2d. It reads as follows: Explain and evaluate the concepts of ‘CSR strategy’ and ‘strategic CSR’.
In this article, a number of themes in corporate social responsibility (CSR) are discussed. Corporate social responsibility can be a controversial subject in some countries and in some cultural contexts. It seems that there is a range of views on the extent to which business organisations should be socially responsible as well as economically successful, and these are reflected in such frameworks as the Gray, Owen & Adams continuum (Paper P1 Study Guide entry E2a).
WHAT IS CSR?
The idea that businesses have a role in society as well as in making money for shareholders is not a new one. Although a business organisation primarily exists to make a return for its investors, a number of other purposes might also apply. It might want, for example, to be a good employer, to behave responsibly, to deal fairly with suppliers and customers, etc. In some cases, in addition to all of these, some believe that businesses have a wider responsibility to society in general. They may believe that because businesses benefit from the support of society, they, in turn, have a responsibility to contribute to the welfare of society.
Accordingly, some businesses adopt a range of measures that are designed to benefit society more widely than existing just for the maximisation of shareholder value, important though that is. CSR initiatives generally include a range of community initiatives, including donating money to charities, helping non-governmental organisations, perhaps with the donation of staff time or excess inventory, providing staff expertise to local good causes, allowing a range of stakeholders to have input into key strategic decisions, social and environmental impact management and similar other initiatives.
It is thought that CSR can have an important role in how a business is positioned in its environment. Just as a number of strategic analysis tools (such as Michael Porter’s five forces framework) can describe how a company is strategically positioned, the ethical reputation that a business has is also thought to be important in its overall strategic positioning. So society’s view of a company, and hence its willingness to engage with the company, is partly dependent upon its ethical reputation over many years. CSR measures are thought to be one important way of influencing this.
WHAT IS CSR STRATEGY?
A strategy, in the usual meaning of the term, implies something that is planned, preconceived and deliberate. So a CSR strategy, just like another other strategy (like a marketing strategy, perhaps) is a series of deliberate stages intended to achieve a particular outcome or strategic end. In contrast, a company that does not have a CSR strategy might appoint someone to achieve CSR outcomes as part of their job but then provide no overall framework or guidance for the CSR investment. CSR, in such a situation, would not be planned at all, but just ‘done’ by someone, perhaps on the basis of solicitations of the jobholder’s own views of which causes are the most deserving.
So to have a CSR strategy involves making choices. It might be decided, for example, to pursue some CSR activities but not others and to support some causes but not others. Once these decisions have been made, the person or people responsible for implementing CSR strategy will have a basis for CSR decisions. This is a CSR strategy.
One reason why companies might have a CSR strategy in place is to ensure that CSR is not undertaken based on the personal views of the CSR person or department, or on the basis of any persuasive causes who convince the company to support their particular viewpoint. Given that CSR usually costs the company money, many companies feel that they need to in some way reflect the values and beliefs of the company’s owners, the shareholders, in CSR matters. This brings us onto the subject of strategic CSR.

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