Grow Your Business Through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Learn through Acer about Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability, its value and importance, and how they can benefit you and your business, large or small.
What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a philosophy of doing business to improve the social and environmental impacts of a company's operations. CSR can take many forms, from donations to local charities, hiring sustainable workers, and promoting green energy. CSR is showing your customers that your company has a positive impact on the:
- Community in which you operate
- Society as a whole
- Planet at large
Recent years have seen rapid IT industry growth and adverse environmental effects, so investing in sustainability is crucial for our planet's health. Since 2006, Acer has significantly developed and reinvigorated its actions in sustainable development. Acer has rooted CSR into its business and engaged enthusiastically in CSR initiatives worldwide.
ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance. Investors are increasingly applying these non-financial factors to identify companies to invest in. Acer ranks highly among the top companies in the world for ESG metrics.
What are the four levels of CSR?
Archie Carrol developed his Corporate Responsibility pyramid in 1991 and focused on four major responsibilities:
1. Philanthropic: funding educational programs, supporting community projects
2. Ethical: engaging in fair business practices and treating people with respect
3. Legal: adhering to applicable laws, upholding human rights and labor practices
4. Economic: endorsing sustainable practices while reducing waste and costs
What are the types of CSR?
CSR is a corporate 'citizenship.' It is a dedication or commitment you make to change and improve operations to impact the world positively. CSR takes many forms:
- Environmental management
- Green resourcing
- Collaborating with stakeholders
- Labor standards and working conditions
- Employee and community relations
- Social equity, gender balance, human rights
- Proper governance and anti-corruption actions
Why is Corporate Social Responsibility important?
More and more consumers want to buy from companies they believe share their values. A 2017 study revealed that 90% of people would buy from a business that supported an issue they cared about. Consequently, 75% would refuse to buy from a company that supports an issue that goes against their beliefs. The study also highlights that 92% of consumers have a more positive view of companies that support social issues and environmental efforts.
CSR is important for many reasons. Some people believe it is a moral responsibility for businesses to act to improve the lives of people around them. Others believe that CSR creates a positive image of your company, which can lead to more business opportunities. In addition, CSR can help you protect the environment by motivating you to make changes that are good for society and the planet.
What is Corporate Sustainability (CS)?
There is a growing movement in corporate America to adopt CS practices to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable. Corporate sustainability is the umbrella term that refers to measures taken by companies to protect their environment, maintain or improve their social and environmental performance, and create long-term value for shareholders.
Acer has been awarded the Sustainability Award Silver Class in 2022. This award comes due to Acer amping up its corporate responsibility efforts in response to the increased focus on climate change. Since 2021, Acer has been involved in the RE100 initiative and has pledged to source 100% renewable energy by 2035.
What are the three pillars of CS?
Corporate Sustainability is a broader strategy that emphasizes improving the following:
- Planet: environmental sustainability
- People: social sustainability
- Profit: economic sustainability
Sustainability gives companies a more significant presence, clearer narrative, and unique appeal to:
Why is Corporate Sustainability (CS) important?
The primary importance of CS lies in a cleaner, greener, and rejuvenated planet, especially regarding climate change and global warming. Embracing CS helps set industry standards to increase awareness of sustainable development goals.
Consumers care increasingly about environmental and social issues, so corporate sustainability is a terrific way to reach out to more customers and convince them that you have their priorities in mind.
Equally importantly, it encourages you to adapt, rethink and grow, keeping you in lockstep with the needs and demands of our changing planet and society.
How do CSR & CS work together?
CSR and CS run hand-in-hand with CSR as an initiative-taking approach to business, and CS has a much broader scope. Many points cross over, and both can improve your business.
Modern consumers care more about climate change, a brand's carbon footprint, and environmental impact.
Corporate Sustainability focuses on economic growth and environmental issues. CSR involves business ethics and has a social justice orientation. CSR is how you behave in your industry's ecosystem, encouraging respect for ethical standards and business needs.
How Acer engages in CSR
In 2016, Acer ranked in the top 100 percentile of companies for CSR. Acer follows the four pillars of CSR:
1) Economic Responsibility: Acer employs circular economics
Circular economics differs from the traditional business model by changing to a 'cradle-to-cradle' model that minimizes waste. Acer manages this by introducing:
- Product sharing
- Repair and refurbishment
- Replacing raw materials with renewable materials
- Resource regeneration and recovery
2) Legal Responsibility: Acer takes labor rights seriously
Integral to Acer's responsible supply chain management is putting people first. Acer strives to protect the rights and health & safety of employees.
Acer adheres strictly to the following acts:
Acer is also a member of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) - a nonprofit coalition of electronics companies bound to promote and maintain the rights and well-being of workers and the communities surrounding them.
Acer conducts routine audits to make sure suppliers conform to its code of conduct.
3) Ethical Responsibility: Acer always acts ethically
Acer believes its reputation and success are built on individual and collective integrity. Acer introduced the Standards of Integrity Management & Business Conduct (SBC) as core values to ensure all employees continue to deliver services ethically.
4) Philanthropic Responsibility: Creating a global community
- Share their voice
- Contribute to decision making
The project is a worldwide phenomenon and includes actions in:
- Food production
- Green initiatives
- Beach cleaning
- Caring for different disabilities
- Helping remote communities
In 2020, Acer's investment in social and community interactions came to approximately US $2.05 million, which was around 1% of the company's revenue. Acer employees across the globe demonstrated concern for society by actively helping their local communities during the pandemic.
Why should companies engage in CSR?
CSR is a business issue. The arguments for Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Sustainability are numerous but straightforward. They add value to your business by:
- Improving the public image of the brand
- Reflecting the concerns and needs of stakeholders and customers
- Reducing financial costs
- Reducing environmental costs
- Retaining the loyalty of customers and stakeholders
- Attracting top-tier employees
- Employee retention through employee morale
- Attracting greater investment
- Engaging with customers and fellow businesses
- Positively impacting the community
- Improved employee productivity
How you and your business can engage in CSR
Now you know the benefits of CSR, how can you implement it? Think about the needs and concerns of the people around you. Thankfully, there are limitless ways you can achieve all the above.
Do your best to:
- Link your CSR strategy to your company's goals
- Talk to your stakeholders and employees to get feedback
- Involve employees early- get their enthusiasm to get it going
- Be honest and specific with everyone
- Do customer surveys and polls
- Create external relationships and partnerships in the local area
Of course, the size of your company will affect how much you can do initially. You don't need to bankrupt yourself. However, you can start immediately by involving yourself in the local community. To become a vital part of the community, you can:
- Volunteer as a company for a clean-up or a school fundraiser
- Sponsor local events like giveaways or contests
- Donate to local charities when possible
- Take part in local events like fun runs etc.
- Be the host of an event if you can
- Give a tour of the property, where applicable, to schools or clubs
- Teach a class in a school or college to garner enthusiasm
Honestly, you know your community best. Just look for where you think you and your company are either wanted, needed, or both. Place yourself there, and you can only succeed.
Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Sustainability can help your business grow and thrive. Implementing customer, community, and employee-based codes and initiatives will take you from strength to strength.
*The opinions reflected in this article are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect any official positions or claims by Acer Inc.
Patrick Yu is a Senior Project Manager at Level Interactive and has 8 years of experience writing business, legal, lifestyle, gaming, and technology articles. He is a significant contributor to Acer Corner and is currently based in Taipei, Taiwan.