Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a universal feature of corporate operations in companies across the globe – and for good reason. Effecting social change is increasingly important, not only for the good of society, but for the good of corporations as well. Unfortunately, CSR initiatives are often met with a lack of respect at board meetings and are effectively rendered second-rate ideas, even in an age where “social impact” is a major buzzword.
CSR efforts have the potential to protect an organization’s reputation, minimize risk, and maximize profits. Why is it, then, that CSR initiatives, to quote comedian Rodney Dangerfield, “don’t get no respect?” The answer is simple and draws on a widely known business adage: you can only manage what you can measure. Identifying the link between CSR and increased profits and productivity is difficult, and measuring the ‘social impact’ of CSR is even harder.
“The majority of CSR efforts have become, at best, misguided attempts to advance the common good without much in the way of substantive value and, at worst, self-serving and profit-seeking performances.”
For these reasons, corporate responsibility has become more about corporate image than actual substance – more about window-dressing and whitewashing than enacting meaningful change. You do not have to look far to find widespread examples of CSR failures to underscore this point: from the time
“Organizations genuinely interested in fostering social impact or positively impacting their own operations must rethink the way they enact CSR.”
Before conceptualizing CSR for improved outcomes, we must understand why CSR, as it is currently employed, falls flat. The vast majority of CSR efforts are largely immeasurable. Corporations lack the tools they need to measure social impact, which prevents them from allocating funds to successful initiatives and reduces accountability in cases where CSR efforts do not work or make matters worse. The few tools companies do have to measure CSR performance are largely imperfect; many depend on companies’ own data reporting, as opposed to objective outside measurements.
On a related note, the goals of current CSR efforts are far too broad and are widely guided by imprecise values (“ensuring sustainability” or “advancing social good”), instead of being focused on actionable – measurable – items (increasing food production by XX% or reducing environmental degradation by YY%). Moreover, the majority of CSR initiatives are not aligned with public needs. They are not designed with public input, but are instead thought up by C-level executives, more often than not out of touch with community needs.
“Social Risk Analysis is the tool companies need to get their Corporate Social Responsibility programs back on track.”
ENODO Global’s Social Risk-based approach to CSR solves these problems and provides a much-needed instrument to measure both ‘social impact’ and corporate performance. Using our unique blend of data analytics, social media exploitation, and a population-centric methodology, ENODO uncovers population-based beliefs and grievances, enabling companies to align their CSR initiatives to more adequately address community needs in ways that resonate. Moreover, Social Risk Analysis provides a repeatable, reliable way to gauge the effectiveness of CSR efforts, by measuring a single variable – public sentiment – over time. Employing Social Risk Analysis enables companies to foster maximum social impact, with positive impacts for communities, consumers, and corporations themselves — in turn granting CSR the respect it deserves.