According to the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), Public Relations (PR) is “the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organisation (or individual) and its (or their) publics.” (Turnbull, 2010). This means that an organization employs the use of its resources, which may be financial or otherwise, in an effort to bringing itself closer to its social environment. On the other hand, social responsibility is “The responsibility of an organisation for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behaviour” (Black, 2010) while corporate responsibility is “doing business in a way that respects the views of stakeholders and takes into account the longer term economic, social and environmental impacts of decisions made by an organisation” (Pullen, 2010). The focus of this paper is to look at corporate social responsibility, its importance in contemporary organisations and how corporates may positively contribute towards environmental conservation and what corporates need to do in order to ensure that they are environmentally and socially responsible.
Relationship between Corporate Social Responsibly (CSR) and (PR)
Any organisation is formed to make some impact on the environment, which may include customers, clients, other stakeholders or the natural environment. For any organisation either profit or non-profit to increase its popularity, it does not only focus on the business aspect alone, but rather on both the business and other aspects, which may not bring direct profit to the organisation at the present. An organisation may be involved in charity work, which may take the form of providing scholarships to needy students or contributing towards uplifting economic status ofcommunities.For example, the Toyota company in Australia is involved in corporate social responsibility by being involved ion in “providing a long-term stable employment environment and income security to its 4,571 employees” (Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Limited 2009 Sustainability Report, b, 2009). This is a form of corporate social responsibility in the sense that it ensures that employees for the corporate are well taken care of, both at the present and during future engagement with the corporate as well after engagement with the corporate. Economically, the corporate is engaged in “manufacturing, assembly, importing and distribution of motor vehicles and replacement parts for both Australian and overseas markets” (Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Limited 2009 Sustainability Report, a, 2009, p.1). The corporate therefore plays an important economic role of ensuring that there is enough supply of vehicles, which play an important role in the overall economies of many countries worldwide given that many countries use vehicles as a means of transport. Environmentally, the corporate is engaged in environmental management by ensuring that they come up with a sound environmental protection strategy, which is contained in its vision 2020, which aspires to have a business plan which is sensitive to the environment. Its commitment to environmental conservation was demonstrated in the swift way in which it responded to the January 2009 oil spill in Satellite building in Port Melbourne. (Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Limited 2009 Sustainability Report, c, 2009, pp.23-24).
The Importance of Ensuring That the “Green” Claims Are Realistic
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Many corporations in Australia are using environmental conservation as competition tool, to make them appear unique and different from their competitors (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission 2010). Due to this, there is a need for the commission to ensure that any claim by any corporate about environmental conservation is closely diagnosed, to ensure that the claims are valid. This is because it is not only a requirement by the law for the companies to make valid claims, but it is also a right of the customers to get valid information which truly captures what an organisation does. According to the Trade Practices Act 1974 (the Act) all businesses should provide consumers with accurate information about goods and services. Manufacturers and/or retailers that make false or misleading information on their packaging (including their plastic bags) or on any other product are therefore considered to have breached the act, which has got its consequences (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission 2010). The commission may view any mispresentation of a corporate’s information through false information in packages about the corporate as a pure act of violation of the trade act as well as a poor strategy of looking for customers.
Recommendations to Management
What I can recommend to a management as a way out in establishing the organisation’s image as a socially and environmentally responsible organisation is commitment not only to the business aspect, but also to other aspects which do not bring profit directly to the organisation. The management should ensure that it integrates its business strategy with both environmental protection and social responsibility. This can help them in making their organisations popular, and also for sustainability purposes for their business because the popularity created due to environmental and socialresponsibilities serve as a way of creating future customers for the goods and services for that organisation.Forexample, the Transurban corporate, which is located in Australia, has an integrated approach in its business strategy. For sustainability purposes, Transurban has put in place an elaborate system, which integrates business with environment, employees, marketplace, communities, and stakeholders (Transurban 2010, p. 17). This s is a very important aspect in marketing and sustaining the organization, so that even in the future, there will still be customers for its products and services.
In conclusion, public relations is a very important aspect in marketing of any organisation.This is because it makes the organization widely known, which increases the customer base for the goods and services offered by the organisation. Corporate social responsibility is one way in which organisations improve their public relations, by engaging in non-profit activities like charity work, protection and conservation of the environment or talking care of the employee welfare through provision of other benefits apart from their salaries or wages. Many corporates, especially in Australia are using environmental conservation as a tool for competition, in which some corporates are genuine while others present false claims. It is therefore very important for the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission to ensure that corporates comply with the trade act, so as to ensure fair competition among corporates as well as respect of the law. Managers who wish to make their organisations sustainable should therefore be engaged in social responsibilities and genuine conservation of the environment so as to create apool of customers for its goods and services in the future. Failure to do so may make an organisations’ popularity deteriorate with time, up to a point when it becomes completely unknown or forgotten by many people or customers.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, (2010). Biodegradable, Degradable and Recyclable Claims on Plastic Bags. Cambera: Common Wealth of Australia 2010.
Black, L.D., (2010). A New Standard for Social Responsibility: Philanthropy Australia Corporate Network Meeting. Web.
Pullen, S., (2010).Corporate Responsibility at NAB: Employees and Environment. San Francisco, CA:Corporate Responsibility and Brands.
Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Limited 2009 Sustainability Report, (2009). a.Economic Performance. Port Melbourne VIC 3207: Toyota Motor Corporation Australia.p.1.
Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Limited 2009 Sustainability Report, (2009). b. Social Performance. Port Melbourne VIC 3207: Toyota Motor Corporation Australia.
Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Limited 2009 Sustainability Report, (2009). c. Environmental Performance. Port Melbourne VIC 3207: Toyota Motor Corporation Australia. pp.23-24.
Transurban, (2010).Sustainability Report. Melbourne VIC: Transurban.p.17.
Turnbull, N.,( 2010).An insider’s view on public relations: How PR Works But often Doesn’t. Melbourne:NS & JS,Turnbull Pty Ltd.