Corporate Social Responsibility: Are companies committed to this self- regulating concept?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a broad term covering several aspects of a company’s culture but specifically refers to its approach to the environment, its employees and its altruism. As it is a self-regulating practice, companies vary in their commitments to this area and some fall short of what they advertise on their websites.

Case in point: a cruise line states that “Since 2006, _______ has achieved and maintained certification to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard. This voluntary program defines clear environmental goals, and establishes strict lines of responsibility and accountability for adhering to policies and procedures. We provide our shipboard staff with the equipment, expertise and training required to achieve our environmental goals……..” Yet this same cruise line has been polluting the ocean since 2005 by dumping oil-contaminated waste. The company will be fined several million dollars by the U.S. Department of Justice. There are lots of layers to this story including the validity of the ISO certification process.

Being aware of your global supply chain is imperative to getting good marks in the human rights area. A company must examine the practices of its vendors ensuring that they treat their workers fairly and uphold the laws of the land. Remember the issue that Nike had of manufacturing shoes in sweatshops? It took them two decades to shake that reputation. During the crises, their sales declined significantly. Today they are the leader in athletic brands but it took a lot of work and money to turn that around.

In 2015 companies donated 18.45 billion dollars worth of cash, in-kind donations and gifts from foundations to nonprofits in the U.S. This figure represents 5% of the total funds donated from all sources including individual giving. It’s estimated that only 11% of American firms give back. Why is this and how can this number be raised? These and many other questions relating to corporate giving will be addressed by subject matter experts, industry leaders and c-level nonprofit executives on March 2, 2017 at the Corporate Giving Network Conference in Seattle. For more information, contact Joy Stephens at