As the business world becomes more aware of its impact on society and the environment, many companies have adopted Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies. However, with recent skepticism surrounding the effectiveness and credibility of these efforts, it's time to explore new approaches that better align with stakeholders' expectations. Enter the concept of social purpose — a shift from doing good to improving society.
A systemic approach to CSR
Over time, CSR has faced criticism for lacking transparency and credibility. Stakeholders and customers are becoming increasingly skeptical of CSR reports, which often seem like promotional materials rather than genuine reflections of a company's social impact. This skepticism questions whether companies are committed to positive change or use CSR as a marketing tool.
One way to restore credibility to CSR strategies is by adopting a systemic approach. Instead of focusing solely on the company or society, this approach aims to create collective objectives and distribute responsibility among all participants. By fostering cooperation, CSR can influence the broader business and social contexts in which companies operate.
How social purpose enhances social responsibility
Rather than completely overhauling CSR, some experts argue that the concept of social purpose should be the next step in its evolution. Social purpose focuses on a company's contribution to specific societal goals and requires active involvement from impacted stakeholders. This more inclusive approach can help balance competing interests and create a more robust framework for addressing social issues.
Traditional CSR efforts often prioritize company-centric benefits and may not align with stakeholders' interests. Social purpose shifts this focus, allowing companies to develop new customer engagement models and maximize societal benefits. By broadening their view of their role in addressing social issues, companies can create a more significant positive impact on people and the planet.
In an era where customers and stakeholders demand more from companies, the shift towards a social purpose can help businesses address these expectations more effectively. By incorporating social purpose into their strategies, companies can move beyond traditional CSR frameworks and work towards creating a better world for all.