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Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility

Introduction:
Sustainability
The Webster dictionary meaning of the word sustainability (noun) is "able to be sustainable."
Some synonyms are "maintainable", "acceptable", "acceptable". This concept encompasses
three dimensions of business viz., Economic, ecological and social and this approach is often
called "triple bottom line" (TBL).

Diagram -The Triple Bottom Line:




Sustainability consists of ideas, desires and values inspire the public and private
organizations to have a greater concern for the environment and promote a healthy economic
growth along with goals for the benefit of society. Even in the business world its application
is called as Sustainable development, which implies that environmental protection does not
prevent the economic development and it is imperative that economic development in the
short and long term viable known. In other words, it is used for a timetable to accomplish the
Action Plan for Sustainability, an activity, the resources and where immediately and
generations replication.


Corporate Social Responsibility
CSR is generally the vehicle used by organizations to drive sustainability initiatives.
However, it is important to note that sustainability initiatives are more than what are
commonly seen as CSR activities. But, there is uncertainty in both the corporate and the
academic world as to how CSR should be defined. According to (Jackson and Hawker, 2001)
"We have looked for a definition and basically there is not one".
The definitional confusion surrounding CSR could be a potentially significant problem.
When competing definitions have divergent prejudices, people will talk about CSR
differently and thus prevent productive engagement.
Thus, a generally accepted definition in the form of Corporate Social Responsibility being the
way companies manage their businesses to produce an overall positive impact on society
through economic, environmental and social actions.

CSR & Company
As a responsible business the primary task of any business is the interests of its stakeholders-
shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers and the wider community and actively seeking
ways to improve the environment and contribute to the well-being of communities.
It is no longer acceptable for a company to economic prosperity in isolation from these funds
to experience influenced by their actions. A company now focus its attention to focus on both
increasing its bottom line and a good corporate citizen. Monitoring global trends and continue
to provide for the financial obligations to private and public benefits have forced
organizations to reshape their conditions, rules and new business models. To understand and
improve current efforts to socially responsible organizations continue to revise their short-and
long-term agendas to stay ahead of rapidly changing challenge.









ANALYSIS OF THE CASE STUDY OF IBM's how it is achieving
sustainable growth through CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

OVERVIEW:

As the Internet has caused a permanent change in the structure of the industry and the ways in
which value is created by Industries, the ubiquitous connectivity that is already created in the
today a permanent change in the relationship between a company and its stakeholders,
Customers, employees and partners. The reason for this is huge amounts of information - and
opinions - about companies, their products and practices are available in every part of the
world, every hour, every minute, every day. And because the Internet has become a place
where people come together to discuss and organize to be social actions against the
Company, the balance of power between business and society has shifted and outside of
business.
So, with this increased visibility of corporate actions, perceptions of businesses`and their
consequent purchasing behaviours change fundamentally. Each action by Corporates is
monitored under the microscope, and because this means significant financial implications
for companies; CSR is no more than just a regulatory or discretionary cost, but an investment
that brings financial returns considered. So, irrefutably true, it seems that companies are
starting to see CSR as a sustainable growth strategy.

CSR survey
IBM surveyed more than 250 Business executives worldwide and was conducted primarily
to understand the core of the company and its CSR strategies. Among them were managers
and strategists, not the executives responsible for the charitable foundations or special CSR
initiatives by companies.
IBM's analysis led to three dynamics that companies need to understand and act upon in
dealing with CSR.
These dynamics are:
The impact on business - the cost of growth
Information - From the perspective of transparency
Relationships - from containment to Commitment.

Impact on business - the costs of growth:
Historically, companies have treated CSR initiatives in the most basic form, i.e., for
compliance purposes. Compliance issues are two-edged swords, if you do not follow them,
then you are obliged to suffer great losses, loss in public confidence, etc., and if one follows
it, then it will be seen as something very obvious and no particular advantage to be seen in
terms of company image or something that benefits from it!
This has led to a shift in the thinking of companies about what it means to be socially and
environmentally responsible. Today, a surprising number of companies already consider
corporate social responsibility as a platform for growth and differentiation.

Survey results:
More than two-thirds (68 per cent) surveyed by IBM executives focus on CSR activities to
create new revenue sources.
More than half (54 per cent) believe that CSR activities of their companies are already
providing them a competitive advantage over its major competitors.
Survey results showed that surprisingly only a few companies in what appears to be engaged
a very basic range for building reputation - strategic philanthropy. Strategic philanthropy is
directed charitable giving with the business strategy, the company skills and needs of the
market. These efforts reinforce social commitment of a company with regular income, often
in the form of goodwill and usually indirectly, from a financial point of view.
IBM calls its own example; it works for public and non-profit organizations, the World
Community Grid available volunteer force of more than 210,000 people to make the who
donate the ideal processing power of their computer to create a dedicated "virtual
supercomputer" exclusively on humanitarian research processing power of their computer.
The program is on IBM strategically important because it shows how leading-edge
technology can make the world a better place, and also in building the company`s image.
Because the positive financial impact of strategic philanthropy is often indirect, these efforts
are not always sustained. But to have a lasting impact on society and the business need, they
can be kept and used. So, the closer you align philanthropy core strategy of the company, the
easier it is to consistently efforts.





Information: From visibility to transparency
Over the years, the consumer`s insatiability for information has increased manifolds,
compared to the previous generation. For example, in the UK, 57% and in the USA, 59% of
consumers say their knowledge of the content of the food they buy has increased in the last
two years.
As a result, need for transparency has greatly increased and companies are expected to
operate in the open.
The results of the survey chart a significant increase in information to CSR:
Three-quarters (75 per-cent) said the number of interest groups collecting information about
their business has increased in the last 3 years.
Three-quarters (75 per-cent) also increased the amount of information they provide about
the procurement and social and environmental impacts of their products and services and
activities in the past 3 years.
A full 63 per cent believe that they are able to meet adequate information on the sources and
the composition of their products and services to satiate customer concerns.
But 33 per cent of the same leaders admit they do not understand any concerns their
customers well; make it likely that most companies are either simply confident of their ability
to meet regulatory requirements or to advise at best what customers expect.
The companies are deeper in running their business partners, "questions about their carbon
dioxide emissions and the effects of hazardous components in the supply chain.

Relationships: From Containment to Engagement
If CSR strategies are effectively transparent, as described in the previous section, it goes hand
in hand with stakeholders. First, do not call it transparency if you just spit out information in
the market or to unleash what is effectively a data dump on your customers. It could even
backfire. To really communicate requires not only frame, but the interaction between the
parties.
Second, commitment is without full transparency disingenuous at best.
Most companies have the way in which the interactions are very limited directly with
customers and other constituents on CSR issues. Typically commitment begins and ends with
sales, marketing, customer service, and public relations functions.
However, driving transparency requires much more interaction with customers - from
executives to sales assistants. And with all of these points of contact, the company will need
both practice openness, and ensure that its full workforce is ready to enter into a dialogue
with the customer.
Way in the future:
The only way to find out which way to delight customers is to take a note to her questions.
Listen to their ideas. Make it easy for them to find the answers to their questions online on
the label, and sales and service staff. Analysis underlying themes, so you can make your
actions and information increasingly relevant. More and more companies are making
interactive information to call the consumer a level of information, or examine a product code
on the Internet to find the information you need. Interactions are as follows and analyze them
in order to better understand concerns and expectations of customers,

Conclusion:
To grow higher on CSR value curve of the compliance of growth, companies must:
1. Make sure CSR and business strategy has been integrated into all operational functions. So
it makes it easy to invest (not spend) the necessary means to achieve their goals.
2. Companies must be more open and strive for more transparency in the exchange of
information between all stakeholders,
3. Transparency should be used as a tool to increase the level of engagement of the main
constituents and customers.














References:
http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/bus/pdf/gbe03019-usen-01.pdf
http://www.ccl.org/leadership/pdf/research/CorporateSocialResponsibility.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability