The debate regarding the value of Corporate Social Responsibility to corporations still rages in many academic and corporate environments. This paper contends that businesses can derive entrepreneurial benefits if they demonstrate commitment to maintain and improve the environment within which they function. This paper recognizes that the term environment includes a large number of elements. However, for the purpose of this paper, environment refers to the physical environment only.
First, good environmental policies enhance the reputation of a corporation among the communities it operates (Ismail 93). It demonstrates that the corporation thinks about the community and not just profits. The community feels that the corporation is using its power and influence to improve the standard of living in the areas it operates. This leads to a greater sense of goodwill, which in turn makes it easy for the corporation to pursue its entrepreneurial objectives.
Secondly, a good environmental policy gives a corporation the upper hand in talent acquisition (Kiran and Sharma 100). Talent is one of the key factors of production in the modern economy. It is not sufficient to have workers. An organization must have a clear advantage in its talent pool to operate successfully. An organization with a reputation for being environmentally conscious is likely to attract the best talent because of its perceived altruism.
Thirdly, a corporation that protects its immediate environment demonstrates that it is in touch with the needs of the immediate community (Carroll and Shabana 92). This has several entrepreneurial advantages. First, engaging with a community in non-commercial terms gives the community a non-commercial view of the corporation. The corporation’s humane face surfaces in such engagements. This makes the community feel that the company is approachable and is a responsible member of the community.
The fourth advantage of environmental responsibility to corporate entrepreneurship is that it demonstrates how to apply the principle of sustainability in all business units (Ismail 107). An environmentally conscious corporation forces its staff to think in terms of sustainability in all aspects of business.
This principle is invaluable when developing business strategies such as succession plans, business expansion plans, and product development processes. A business that demonstrates concern for the environment forces its staff to think about sustainable business practices.
Research shows that business that care about the environment have healthier bottom lines compared to those that lack CSR programs (Kiran and Sharma 60). The principle here is that by caring for the environment, the business experiences benefits that lead to a healthier bottom line.
Criticisms against environmental concern at the corporate level are as follows. First, some corporations participate in environmental conservation because of its benefits to the specific company rather than based on the benefits that will accrue to the community (Ismail 103). The result is a skewed program that only considers the corporation’s interests without embracing the interests of the community.
Secondly, some commentators argue that corporations exist to make profits (Ismail 105). Therefore, they are ill suited for functions such as environmental conservation. In their view, the duty of environmental conservation belongs to governments and state regulators who have the capacity to provide the care the environment needs.
The final argument is that even the best meaning corporations take care of the environment in ways that promote their self-interest rather that the collective interests of the community. In the final analysis, environmental conservation is a positive thing that requires support from all quarters. In this sense, all efforts to conserve the environment require everyone’s support without imputing motive. Finally, a company that aligns its environmental conservation efforts with the needs of the community is likely to experience the best entrepreneurial benefits.
Carroll, Archie B and Kareem M Shabana. “The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility: A Review of Concepts, Research and Practice.” International Journal of Management Reviews (2010): 85-105. Print.
Ismail, Maimunah. “Corporate Social Responsibility and Its Role in Community Development: An International Perspective.” The Journal of International Social Research (2009): 199-209. Print.
Kiran, Ravi and Anupam Sharma. “Corporate Social Responsibility and Management Education: Changing Perception and Perspectives.” Global Journal of Management and Business Research (2011): 57-67. Print.