ACCA P1 考试：CSR STRATEGY AND STRATEGIC CSR (二)
WHAT IS STRATEGIC CSR?
‘Strategic’ is a term used to signify a certain motive. For a business, something that is strategic is concerned with the long-term success of the business and its strategic positioning with regard to a range of environmental variables. So in strategy, people might talk about strategically important customers, suppliers, employees, networks, culture, etc. In each case, such things are referred to as ‘strategic’ because they can affect the long-term success of the business and the quality of the business’s strategic ‘fit’ into its environment.
When we refer to strategic CSR, we use the term ‘strategic’ in precisely the same way as those referred to above. CSR measures can be configured so as to produce benefits for the company as well as for those causes supported in the community. This means that the types of causes supported or community groups helped will be chosen carefully so that the CSR initiatives support the strategic objectives of the business. The belief underpinning strategic CSR is that all of the money in a business belongs to the shareholders and so any expenditure should serve their (the shareholders’) strategic interests. To spend any money carelessly (including CSR investment) would be affectively a type of theft from shareholders. So CSR that did not support the company’s strategy would be an irresponsible use of shareholders’ funds.
So what does strategic CSR look like? One well-known medical supplies company, for example, is known to use a lot of its CSR budget on supporting nurses and doctors in their training and research. Why might this be? Because it will be nurses and doctors who, once qualified and in senior positions, will be able to select suppliers for their hospitals and other health facilities they work in. If they have benefitted from the company’s funding as trainees, they may be well-disposed to the company for all of their working lives.
Another company, a bank, uses some of its CSR budget to help to educate young adults in ‘financial literacy’. Why might this be strategic? Because adults who are financially literate will usually go into unplanned debt less frequently and will realise their need for a range of financial products, many of which will be provided by the bank. So by supporting initiatives to increase financial literacy, the bank might be indirectly reducing bad debts and also increasing demand for its own products.
A very common way of using CSR strategically is to involve the employees in their choices of how to support charities and communities. The thinking behind this is to increase the support and loyalty of employees by asking them to suggest and support initiatives that the company might support. If the company supports causes that are important to employees, the effect may be to encourage the loyalty and participation of employees and this, in turn, can increase the productivity of the workforce.
Likewise, a local business might increase its reputation locally by taking part in community initiatives such as helping with a local school or college, providing flower beds in a local park, giving a set of shirts to a local sports team (perhaps with the company name on them), etc. In many countries, if the recipient of the CSR is a charity, the donation can be made with tax relief. This means that the recipient can receive the value of the donation plus the marginal rate of tax that the company would pay on that amount if it was posted as profit. In such a case, a company carefully planning its CSR can gain tax efficiencies on its CSR strategy (see later).