The impact of business on society is not a new subject. We can find its roots in ancient Rome with such institutions as hospitals, shelters, and homes for the elderly. However, the idea of Corporate Social Responsibility as the world knows it today appeared in the 1950s. The American economist Howard R. Bowen suggested it in his book Social Responsibilities of the Businessman. He concluded that companies have a substantial influence on society. Therefore, they must respect its values, be careful with their decisions, and account for their actions.
The thoughts that Bowen expressed in his publication are still relevant today. That is why a few years ago, the European Commission adopted the Directive 2014/95/EU. This law obliges around 6,000 major enterprises to report on their non-financial activities. These include environmental concerns, anti-corruption policies, human rights protection, social matters such as customer health and safety, and care for employees. The reporting is in harmony with generally acknowledged standards on Corporate Social Responsibility – ISO 26000, the UN Global Compact, and others.
Following CSR principles is beneficial to both companies and their employees. Organizations operate at lower costs by optimizing the use of resources. The firms that invest in their people’s safety and professional development are more likely to work with satisfied and productive teams. Such strategies help businesses to keep hold of skilled employees for years. And the latter are motivated to work for the companies that participate in volunteer programs and donate to nonprofits. Finally, customers tend to buy from the producers that care for the environment and have a reputation as socially responsible organizations.
Modern businesses go hand in hand with technology. Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, digital transformation, Robotic Process Automation, Big Data, and blockchain become part of the companies’ CSR strategies. Organizations use these tools to process large amounts of information, protect their data, manage charity activities, draw up reports, improve environmental policies, and more.
For instance, Walmart takes advantage of cutting-edge solutions to ensure better control over its supply chain. The corporation leverages robots and IoT sensors to manage its goods, save resources, and minimize wastage. Also, this retail giant patented a few farming drones, including a robot bee. This device uses cameras to detect the plants that need pollination and increases their yielding capacity with the help of sensors.
SOLUM comes up with another good idea of how technology helps companies to comply with CSR standards. It produces Electronic Shelf Labels that replace paper tags in stores. Thus, retailers control information about the products’ prices and expiration dates via dedicated apps. As a result, they can change the prices across the store in no time, offering discounts for the goods that are near expiration. This solution allows companies to save tons of products annually, avoid huge food waste, grow revenue, and reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
SylviaTerra, jointly with Microsoft, also contributes to environmental protection. They monitor forests all over the US with the help of satellite imagery, Big Data, and Machine Learning. Such digital mapping allows the government and landowners to survey nature, make better decisions, schedule tree planting, etc.
Learn more about how the usage of breakthrough solutions aid businesses in following the CSR principles on our website.