Tabere cu Suflet 002Being Socially Responsible means that people and organisations must behave ethically and with sensitivity toward social, cultural, economic and environmental issues. Striving for social responsibility helps individuals, organisations and governments have a positive impact on development, business and society with a positive contribution to bottom-line results.

Individual Social Responsibility (ISR) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Individual Social Responsibility (ISR) may appear to be a new concept in relation to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), but it is a concept as old as The Golden Rule — Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. ISR expands on this by promoting a proactive stance towards positively influencing and affecting the people and environments outside your immediate circle. ISR is at the roots of CSR, because a corporate comprises of individuals and hence determines the social responsibility culture it creates. This is the intermingled relationship between CSR and ISR. Individuals are becoming more socially responsible and, in response to this Corporations and Companies need to become more socially responsible to meet consumer demand.

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) states: “In the wake of increasing globalisation, we have become increasingly conscious not only of what we buy, but also how the goods and services we buy have been produced. Environmentally harmful production, child labor, dangerous working environments and other inhumane conditions are examples of issues being brought into the open. All companies and organisations aiming at long-term profitability and credibility are starting to realise that they must act in accordance with norms of right and wrong.”

Socially responsible individuals are demanding companies and organisations to become more socially responsible.

How Does an Individual Become Socially Responsible?

The Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation (WCIF), describes ISR in its position statement on Social Responsibility as,
“The individual social responsibility includes the engagement of each person towards the community where he lives, which can be expressed as an interest towards what’s happening in the community, as well as in the active participation in the solving of some of the local problems. Under community we understand the village, the small town or the residential complex in the big city, where lives every one of us. Each community lives its own life that undergoes a process of development all the time. And everyone of us could take part in that development in different ways, for example by taking part in cleaning of the street on which he lives, by taking part in organization of an event, connected with the history of the town or the village or by rendering social services to children without parents or elderly people. The individual social responsibility also could be expressed in making donations for significant for the society causes – social, cultural or ecological. There are many ways of donating, as for example donating of goods or donating money through a bank account or online”

Social Responsibility can be “negative,” in that it is a responsibility to refrain from acting (resistance stance) or it can be “positive,” meaning there is a responsibility to act (proactive stance). Being socially responsible not only requires participating in socially responsible activities like recycling, volunteering and mentoring, but to actually make it a lifestyle. Only through a commitment to embrace and embed social responsibility into your personal value and belief system can you truly become socially responsible in all you do.

When it comes to individual social responsibility, there are three types of people:

– Adults have “Good Intentions” – they believe that social responsibility is a good idea, and they do what they can in terms of volunteering, but they do not sacrifice huge amounts of time or money.
– At the top end of the spectrum, 8 percent of adults “Practice What They Preach” and for this group, individual, as well as corporate, social responsibility is extremely important.
– There are, however, adults that follow a philosophy of “To Thine Own Self Be True” and, for this group, social responsibility has little consequence in their lives.

On the other hand the trends show that the biggest growth for big charitable organisations in the world is coming through individuals and not through Corporations and Governments.

To take a proactive stance, ISR can start off as a simple act of philanthropic behaviour. You can budget for giving, just like we do for living or car expenses. Add to this the campaigner, volunteer and activist in you that picks-up and supports issues affecting society. You may just start off volunteering once a month somewhere that suits your skills, abilities or interests. You may only be one person but if everyone did their part, we could change the world!

All Social responsibility, both individual and corporate, is voluntary; it is about going above and beyond what is called for by the law(legal responsibility). It involves an idea that it is better to be proactive toward a problem rather than reactive to a problem. Social responsibility means eliminating corrupt, irresponsible or unethical behavior that might bring harm to the community, its people, or the environment before the behavior happens.

The theory

Social responsibility is an ethical theory that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act to benefit society at large. Social responsibility is a duty every individual or organization has to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystem. A trade-off always[citation needed] exists between economic development, in the material sense, and the welfare of the society and environment. Social responsibility means sustaining the equilibrium between the two. It pertains not only to business organizations but also to everyone whose any action impacts the environment. This responsibility can be passive, by avoiding engaging in socially harmful acts, or active, by performing activities that directly advance social goals.

Businesses can use ethical decision making to secure their businesses by making decisions that allow for government agencies to minimize their involvement with the corporation. For instance if a company follows the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines for emissions on dangerous pollutants and even goes an extra step to get involved in the community and address those concerns that the public might have; they would be less likely to have the EPA investigate them for environmental concerns. “A significant element of current thinking about privacy, however, stresses “self-regulation” rather than market or government mechanisms for protecting personal information”. According to some experts, most rules and regulations are formed due to public outcry, which threatens profit maximization and therefore the well-being of the shareholder, and that if there is not outcry there often will be limited regulation.

Critics argue that Corporate social responsibility (CSR) distracts from the fundamental economic role of businesses; others argue that it is nothing more than superficial window-dressing; others argue that it is an attempt to pre-empt the role of governments as a watchdog over powerful corporations though there is no systematic evidence to support these criticisms. A significant number of studies have shown no negative influence on shareholder results from CSR but rather a slightly negative correlation with improved shareholder returns.

Student social responsibility

Student social responsibility is the responsibility of every student for his/her actions. It is morally binding on everyone to act in such a way that the people immediately around them are not adversely affected. It is a commitment everyone has towards the society – contributing towards social, cultural and ecological causes. SSR is based on an individual’s ethics. Instead of giving importance only to those areas where one has material interests the individual supports issues for philanthropic reasons. It forms the base for CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility because if everyone in a business organization does his/her bit the bigger things automatically fall into place. The trends however show that big charitable organizations recorded high growth due to the SR efforts of individuals and not corporates or the government. ISR may be slightly impractical, especially in the modern competitive world, where everyone works for self-interest, but it will succeed if we take decisions based on what will benefit a large number of people and respect everyone’s fundamental rights. As individuals we can make our small contributions to society by donating money to trustworthy NGO’s, saving our resources by reducing our consumption, e.g. by switching off lights or computers when not in use.

Corporate social responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR has been defined by Lord Holme and Richard Watts in The World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s publication ‘Making Good Business Sense’ as “…the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as the local community and society at large”. CSR is one of the newest management strategies where companies try to create a positive impact on society while doing business. There is no clear-cut definition of what CSR comprises. Every company has different CSR objectives though the main motive is the same. All companies have a two point agenda- to improve qualitatively (the management of people and processes) and quantitatively (the impact on society). The second is as important as the first and stake holders of every company are increasingly taking an interest in “the outer circle”-the activities of the company and how these are impacting the environment and society.[7] Social responsibility is an ethical ideology or theory that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act to benefit society at large. Social responsibility is a duty every individual or organization has to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystem. A trade-off always[citation needed] exists between economic development, in the material sense, and the welfare of the society and environment. Social responsibility means sustaining the equilibrium between the two. It pertains not only to business organizations but also to everyone whose any action impacts the environment.[1] This responsibility can be passive, by avoiding engaging in socially harmful acts, or active, by performing activities that directly advance social goals.

Emerging normative status of social responsibility

Social responsibility as a non-binding, or soft law principle has received some normative status in relation to private and public corporations in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights developed by the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee particularly in relation to child and maternal welfare.(Faunce and Nasu 2009) The International Organization for Standardizationrd will “encourage voluntary commitment to social responsibility and will lead to common guidance on concepts, definitions and methods of evaluation.” The standard describes itself as a guide for dialogue and language, not a constraining or certifiable management standard.

Social Responsibility Quotes:
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill.

“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.” ~George Bernard Shaw

“The impersonal hand of government can never replace the helping hand of a neighbor.” ~Hubert H. Humphrey

“One is a member of a country, a profession, a civilization, a religion. One is not just a man.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wartime Writings 1939-1944, translated from French by Norah Purcell

“Each of us is a being in himself and a being in society, each of us needs to understand himself and understand others, take care of others and be taken care of himself.” ~Haniel Long

“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” ~Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Every individual has a place to fill in the world and is important in some respect whether he chooses to be so or not. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Independence”… [is] middle-class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.” ~G.B. Shaw, Pygmalion, 1912

“A machine has value only as it produces more than it consumes – so check your value to the community.” ~Martin H. Fischer

“A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.” ~Richard Whately

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.” ~Herman Melville

Source: Wiki, ImaSocialEntrepreneur.com

Advertisements