The term Corporate Social Responsibility does not have a standard definition. Organizations have developed different definitions but they all have a common denominator. Mallen (n.d) defines Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) ‘as the way corporations or companies handle their business procedures to generate an overall positive impact on society (par. 1). Mallen further quotes a definition developed by Lord Holmes and Richard Watts. They defined CSR as ‘the progressive dedication by a business to act morally and give towards economic development whereas advancing the quality of life of the employees and their families together with the society at large’ (par. 5). According to Mallen (n.d), a company needs to take into consideration two aspects of its operation ‘first is the quality of their administration and second is the magnitude of their impact on the society’ (par. 3).
The definitions cited above, center around CSR acting responsibly towards giving positive feedback to society. Therefore, where or how do corporations execute their social responsibilities? According to Sims ‘corporations and companies execute their social responsibility in the society, and the way they are executed depends on an individual company’ (2003, p. 12). In Jamaica, CSR is administered in different ways and they have touched each and every part of the society in their CSR system. On one hand, the community is prioritized. The companies have apportioned a big percentage of their Corporate Responsibility to community projects. The one-on-one interaction with the community is viewed as the best advertisement tool for these companies. They also support education from primary level to tertiary level for the most deserving students. Companies in Jamaica also contribute towards health education, construction of health facilities and fight against HIV/AIDS. On the other hand, the environment and the staff are brought on board. Companies in Jamaica advocate for training of their staff, provision of health benefits, clean and well-kept environment and lastly, they focus on the safety of the products they produce( Nelson & Murphy 2006, p. 56).
The application of Corporate Social Responsibility can be diverse, but its relevance is well highlighted in a survey conducted by Bridgette McDonald Levy in Jamaica in the year 2008. The survey was done on different sectors in which manufacturing sector representation was 18.1%, service providing companies was 43.1%, around 13% representation was on companies dominant in sales and the rest represented other sectors (Levy 2008, p. 8). Levy’s report (2008) pointed out the importance of CSR to business models in Jamaica. The following were the findings. CSR (Levy 2008):
- Was able to restructure the company’s accounting system
- Brought about positive media image for the company’s efforts on CSR
- Enhanced employees and customers contentment
- Reduced fines for breach of environmental laws and lowered complaints from employees harassment and suppliers in general
- Also, it established a volunteer scheme,
- Helped in identifying business policy to concur with societal needs and systems to scrutinize moral issues (p.21).
The findings above, clearly designate the importance of CSR adoption in Jamaica. Thus, companies that approve and practice Corporate Social Responsibility have an undue advantage over those that do not. This is because they will gain a positive image, trust and loyalty in society. The responsible act they carry out towards the society, reflects their devotion and willingness to be part and parcel of the society. Therefore, a company should analyze the impact of its negligence in society and choose to do things ethically.
‘CRS’ (2009). Industry Canada: Corporate social responsibility. Web.
Levy, B. M. (2008). The JEF State of the Industry 2008: Corporate Social Responsibility.
Mallen, B. (n.d). Corporate Social Responsibility; What Does It Mean? 2009. Web.
Mullerat, R. (2005). Corporate social responsibility. London: Wiley.
Nelson, J & Murphy S. (2006). Corporate Social Responsibility. USA: Harvard University.
Sims, R. (2003). Ethics and Corporate social responsibility. USA: Praeger publishers.