Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) (Types, Benefits & Examples)

Last Updated: Mar 06, 2024
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Key Takeaways

  • Corporate citizenship involves a dual focus on external projects and internal initiatives, recognising employees as integral to success.

  • Some of our external work includes tree planting, rainforest preservation and solar installation projects.

  • Internally, Your Company Formation prioritises governance, employee well-being, and fostering an inclusive workplace culture.

  • Industry comparisons underscore the significance of sustainability and employee well-being as intertwined pillars of corporate success.

What Is Corporate Social Responsibility?

CSR is a business model that helps a company be socially accountable to itself, its employees, the community, and any other stakeholders. It can also be defined as the means through which businesses express their corporate citizenship conviction and may, therefore, take on forms such as equity within the organisation, community engagement and sustainability programs. The triple bottom line of profits, people and planets, known as the 3 Ps, is a term often used to summarise the essence of csr.

The International Organization for Standardization (IS0), through the ISO 26000 standard, has identified benchmarks that will help companies implement corporate social responsibility. The standard guides on strategies for integrating socially responsible behaviour into an organisation. It outlines the seven key underlying principles of social responsibility –

  • Accountability — management takes responsibility for the environmental impacts of its behaviour, operations, supply chain, products & services.

  • Transparency — the business communicates the social and environmental impact of its activities to all key parties.

  • Ethical behaviour — ethically conducts itself, respecting community & environmental rights in its area of operation.

  • Respect for stakeholder interests — management considers all legitimate interests and expectations of its interested parties, which include customers, employees, communities, suppliers, and shareholders.

  • Respect for the rule of law — the organisation operates within the framework of all applicable national laws and regulations of the countries in which it operates.

  • Respect for international norms of behaviour — outside its national boundaries, the organisation conducts itself with integrity and transparency, respecting all relevant international laws.

  • Respect for human rights — the organisation respects human rights internally (regarding the treatment of its employees). It is not complicit in the human rights abuses of others (in the form of slave labour on any aspect of its supply chain).

The guide also articulates the seven core subjects on social responsibility a company should follow:

  • Organisational/ Corporate governance — provides that the decision-making process and outcomes should be aligned to society’s expectations.

  • Labour practices — ensure fair and equitable treatment of employees, focusing on non-discrimination, benefits and diversity.

  • The environment — address the environmental impact of the business activities.

  • Fair operating practices — ensure the business conducts itself fairly, transparently, and ethically.

  • Consumer issues — carefully consider the impact of the business activities on the consumers, providing timely and accurate information in this regard.

  • Community involvement and development — contribute to the wellness of the community where the business operates.

What Is Corporate Citizenship?

From our perspective, it refers to a conviction instilled by leadership and embraced by every concerned party (employees, investors, and shareholders) that the primary objective of the business goes beyond making money to actively and positively impacting society.

What Is Corporate Accountability?

Simply put, accountability is the notion that an individual or entity is answerable for the impact of their actions on others. Therefore, corporate accountability refers to the answerability of a business to its shareholders, employees, and the public on the impact of its commercial activities.

A company should have policies and structures that promote accountability. Furthermore, it should foster partnerships with regulatory bodies and make its practices available for compliance audits. In addition to the foregoing, civil society organisations also promote accountability by holding businesses responsible for their actions.

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Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility

In a world grappling with challenges like global warming, pandemics, and rising crime rates, businesses have a unique opportunity to lead in finding sustainable solutions by designing services that address these issues or utilising their profits to impact the world positively.

Research shows that companies with a strong sense of purpose, whether derived from their CSR efforts or embedded in their value proposition, find it easier to forge meaningful connections with customers and employees.

Additional benefits of csr include —

  1. Alignment of Values — Many companies equipped with robust CSR strategies effortlessly resonate with customers who share similar values.

  2. Enhanced customer retention and lifetime value — By building value-based customer relationships that transcend transactions, these businesses can attract and retain customer loyalty over the long term.

  3. Capital growth — By amalgamating the factors mentioned above, the business can improve its bottom line and outshine competitors yet to embrace CSR.

  4. Job satisfaction — Engaging in CSR activities provides employees with a profound sense of fulfilment, as they recognise that the impact of their work extends beyond a mere paycheck to allow them to actively contribute to making a positive difference.

  5. High employee retention rates — In a workplace that places a high value on social responsibility, employees feel that their contribution to addressing key global challenges is beyond the company’s financial success. It instils a belief that each employee is an integral part of achieving positive social change, fostering a deep sense of connection between the individuals and the organisation.

4 Types of Corporate Social Responsibility

There are four main types of csr activities that a company could engage in —

  1. Environmental responsibility involves initiatives to address or mitigate the environmental impact of a company’s activities. Such investments can take the form of reducing carbon footprints or implementing eco-friendly policies to contribute positively to the environment.

  2. Human rights/ Ethical responsibility entails a firm commitment by companies to uphold human rights principles such as fair treatment, privacy and equal pay across their business operations. Furthermore, human rights commitment may extend internally to include hiring practices that emphasise on diversity, fairness and equity.

  3. Economic responsibility refers to making investments in projects that will make a positive impact on society. Such investments may take the form of giving money to a sustainable energy-producing company or funding the missions of charities aligned with the company’s values.

  4. Philanthropic responsibility refers to a commitment to finance initiatives that enhance the well-being of the vulnerable and underprivileged in society.

Examples of Corporate Social Responsibility

Due to the dynamic nature of the world’s economic, social, and environmental challenges, the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) positions businesses as proactive contributors to sustainable solutions beyond mere philanthropy. In doing so, companies affirm that sustainable corporate success hinges on upholding the well-being of both employees and society.

Let’s explore how some of the world’s largest companies in tech prioritise and uphold employee well-being:


Focus: Employee wellness, social impact, and philanthropy.

CSR Actions: Salesforce has a 1-1-1 model, donating 1% of its product, 1% of its equity, and 1% of its employees’ time to charitable causes. The company engages in philanthropic efforts, supporting education, health, and environmental activities.

Employee wellness initiatives: Salesforce encourages incorporating wellbeing into employees’ V2MOMs, publicly stating their prioritisation of wellbeing and providing flexibility through a monthly $100 reimbursement for activities. The company actively addresses equality and inclusion, contributing to a supportive workplace culture.


Focus: Diversity and inclusion, environmental sustainability, and ethical business practices.

CSR Actions: Microsoft has ambitious goals to be carbon-negative and water-positive by 2030. The company also invests in diversity and inclusion initiatives, aiming to create a workplace that reflects the diversity of its customers.

Employee wellness initiatives: Microsoft places a strong emphasis on employee well-being. The company provides comprehensive healthcare benefits, including fertility support, mental health, and flexible work arrangements. Microsoft has also implemented measures to address burnout and stress among its employees.

With its 1-1-1 model and V2MOMs, Salesforce exemplifies a commitment to philanthropy and a workplace environment that prioritises employee well-being, equality, and inclusion. Microsoft, on the other hand, is well known for its keen sense of corporate social responsibility and commitment to sustainability and community welfare.

These examples underscore a broader shift in corporate philosophy, where sustainability and employee well-being are not mutually exclusive but intertwined pillars of success. In this evolving landscape, businesses recognise that achieving sustainable corporate success necessitates a balanced commitment to societal impact and the health and happiness of their most valuable asset – their employees.

Overview of Your Company Formations CSR Philosophy

At Your Company Formations, we acknowledge the pivotal role of corporate responsibility in shaping a sustainable future. In this section, we showcase the noteworthy climate action initiatives we financed in 2023 and emphasise the critical importance of businesses embracing comprehensive corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. While we proudly highlight the social issues we’ve supported externally, we recognise that CSR extends beyond outward-facing activities.

Our commitment to corporate responsibility also includes internal practices, such as robust governance procedures and measures to enhance the well-being of our personnel. We understand that our employees are integral to our success, and their dedication forms the backbone of our achievements. Therefore, as we navigate the environmental realms of CSR, we are equally dedicated to fostering a workplace culture prioritising fair treatment, diversity, and inclusion.

A Highlight of our external CSR activities

As responsible corporate citizens, we plant a tree whenever you form your limited company with us. Since we made this promise, your business has sponsored over 17,588 trees and a wide array of climate-friendly initiatives.

In partnership with Ecologi, here is what your business has achieved so far —

  • Financed planting over 17,000 trees in Mozambique, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, and other countries.

  • Continue to contribute to the preservation of the prime Brazilian rainforest, home to over 10% of our planet’s wildlife species.

  • Contributed to the construction of one of the largest solar projects in the world – Ouarzazate solar power station in Morocco, addressing the heavy reliance on fossil fuels by contributing 750 GWh of renewable energy annually and reducing the carbon footprint. The region was ideal because it receives one of the highest amounts of sunlight annually. During the construction phase, the project created about 7000 jobs, fostering economic growth and livelihood in the region.

  • Financed the Matavén REDD+ project, which protects 1,150,212 hectares of tropical forest in the Indigenous Reservation of the Matavén Forest. The project benefits an indigenous population of about 16,000 by employing them as rangers and fostering sustainable livelihoods that harmonise with the forest instead of depleting it.

Through projects like these, we have prevented the emission of 248+ metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent as of December 22, 2023.

Internal CSR initiatives – workforce wellness in 2023

At Your Company Formations, we are committed to our personnel’s professional development and well-being. We understand that for a company to be socially responsible, it first needs to be responsible to its people.

In 2023, we fulfilled this obligation by —

  • Providing a meaningful work experience to our workforce — As company formation agents, we engage with businesses as change agents and catalysts, believing that they have the power to solve complex world problems and impact the world positively. It is this foundational belief, coupled with our environmental actions, that shapes our experience as we serve our clients and significantly contributes to fostering job satisfaction among our valued team.

  • Promoting work-life balance – Flexibility is a cornerstone in our approach to employee wellness. We empower our team to harmonise their professional and personal commitments through flexible working arrangements, offering customisable schedules and remote work options. By recognising and supporting our workforce’s diverse lifestyles and preferences, we cultivate an environment where individual well-being flourishes.

  • Support skill development initiatives — In our pursuit of continuous growth, we enlist the support of consultants to provide valuable guidance and expertise to our personnel, ensuring they are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in their professional journeys. By doing so, our valuable workforce thrives and excels in their respective roles.

We also have engagement strategies such as regular feedback sessions, team-building activities, and mentorship programs to strengthen the bond within our organisation further. Our personnel is our greatest asset. Through these measures, we foster a collaborative and inclusive workplace culture where every voice is valued, contributing to the overall success of our team.

How can a business Implement Corporate Social Responsibility Measures ISO 26000 standard?

ISO 26000 is a set of voluntary standards designed to guide companies in implementing corporate social responsibility. Here is how you can use the standards —

  1. Incorporate Social Responsibility into Policies

    • Align company policies with the principles outlined in ISO 26000.

    • Integrate social responsibility considerations into decision-making processes.

  2. Stakeholder Engagement

    • Identify and engage with all parties to understand their expectations and concerns.

    • Involve stakeholders in the development and review of social responsibility engagements.

  3. Supply Chain Management

    • Assess and address the social impact of the supply chain.

    • Look for suppliers who share in your business ethics and are socially responsible.

  4. Employee Well-being

    • Promote a positive workplace culture that values diversity, inclusion, and employee well-being.

    • Implement fair labour practices and ensure employees have a safe and healthy working environment.

  5. Environmental Responsibility

    • Implement environmentally sustainable practices.

    • Minimise the environmental impact of your products or services.

    • Embrace transparency and corporate accountability.

    • Communicate transparently about the organisation’s social responsibility programs.

    • Establish mechanisms for accountability and continuous improvement.

  6. Community Engagement

    • Contribute to the communities in which the business operates.

    • Support community development projects.

    • Ethical Marketing Practices.

    • Ensure marketing practices are ethical and truthful.

    • Avoid misleading or deceptive advertising.

  7. Continuous Improvement

    • Regularly review and assess the effectiveness of social responsibility engagements.

    • Identify areas for improvement and implement necessary changes.

  8. Training and Awareness

    • Provide training to employees on social responsibility principles.

    • Raise awareness among employees about the importance of ethical behaviour.

While ISO 26000 provides general guidelines, the specific application will depend on the nature of the business. Tailor the implementation to align with your product or service offering and consider how social responsibility can be integrated into their operations and stakeholder interactions.

What Is the Difference Between Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Citizenship?

CSR and corporate citizenship are often mentioned alongside each other. As mentioned earlier, citizenship focuses on a company’s internal consciousness concerning the impact of its commercial activities. On the other hand, CSR activities are initiatives taken by a company to conduct business in a socially responsible manner.

Difference Between CSR and Economic Social and Governance (ESG)

ESG and CSR are related in terms of their shared commitment to sustainable and responsible business practices. Both aim to align businesses with ethical, social, and environmental values, recognising the interconnectedness of corporate success with broader societal and environmental well-being. ESG metrics, often used by investors, provide a standardised framework for assessing a company’s non-financial performance and risk management. Conversely, CSR reflects a company’s voluntary and proactive projects to contribute positively to society and the environment.

In essence, ESG metrics can be viewed as a tool within the broader spectrum of CSR, offering investors a more systematic way to evaluate a company’s commitment to sustainability and responsible governance. The two concepts contribute to a corporate landscape where businesses are accountable for their financial performance and impact on the world, fostering a more sustainable and socially conscious business environment.

How to Make Corporate Responsibility Part of Your Business Model

Adopting CSR initiatives involves a strategic and comprehensive approach that goes beyond philanthropy. Here are steps to guide your journey toward being a responsible and socially conscious corporate citizen:

  • Define and articulate your company values and mission — Beyond profit, why are you in business? Clearly articulate your company’s values and mission. Ensure that they align with ethical, social, and environmental considerations.

  • Engage stakeholders — Identify and engage with key parties, including employees, customers, communities, suppliers, and investors. Understand their expectations and concerns.

  • Conduct a materiality assessment — Especially if you are thinking of attracting investors, the test will help you determine the social, environmental and governance issues relevant to your business and its stakeholders.

  • Integrate CSR into business strategy — Align sustainability projects with your core business strategy. Ensure that responsible business practices are integrated into day-to-day operations. As part of your strategy, you could consider.

    • Environmental sustainability & global impact — Implement environmentally sustainable practices either directly or through partners. Such initiatives may help address global challenges such as climate change and human rights.

    • Social Impact Initiatives — Engage in social impact actions that address community needs, which may look like supporting education, healthcare, poverty alleviation, or other social causes.

  • Ethical business practices — Uphold high ethical standards in all business dealings, especially concerning fair labour practices, transparent governance, and responsible sourcing.

  • Employee well-being — Prioritize employee well-being through flexible work arrangements, professional development opportunities, and health and wellness programs.

  • Diversity and inclusion — Foster diversity and inclusion within your workforce. Create an inclusive workplace that values and respects differences.

  • Philanthropy and volunteering — Contribute to philanthropic causes and encourage employee volunteering. Align charitable giving with your company’s mission and values.

  • Monitoring and evaluation — Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the impact of your social responsibility initiatives. Regularly publish sustainability reports on your progress and communicate transparently with stakeholders.

  • Partnerships and collaborations — Collaborate with NGOs, governmental organisations, and other businesses to amplify the impact of your corporate philanthropy initiatives. Form strategic partnerships that align with your mission.

  • Iteration and continuous improvement — Regularly review and reassess your sustainability strategy. Seek feedback from all parties interested in the business and be open to making improvements based on evolving needs and circumstances.

  • Education, internal and external advocacy — Promote internal and external awareness and education on your efforts. Ensure employees and stakeholders understand the company’s commitment to responsible business practices.

By integrating these steps into your corporate culture and operations, you can actively contribute to being a good corporate citizen through environmental and social impact projects, fostering positive social, environmental, and economic impacts.

Article by

Fridar Gichuki

Fridar Gichuki is a lawyer by training turned dedicated content writer & strategist. She brings over 10 years of experience leveraging her legal acumen to support and inspire small businesses on legal, finance, and marketing topics. When not immersed in the world of content, you'll find her hiking across vast plains and scaling high mountains.

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