All other reasons for working with CSR are based in the optimisation of the economic bottom line. However, the vast majority of companies also have a set of values that are more or less governing their actions. Frequently, the personal values of the founder or owners are the deciding factor.
At one end of the scale are the private equity funds that deeply desire to work with CSR because they know it optimises the economy – but they often do not subscribe to the values that weigh the importance of the optimisation of the environment, the climate or human rights higher than the financial return. Here, CSR is primarily a money-making tool.
At the other end of the scale are the social enterprises, which are often start-ups, that are based on a passion for improving the world. Here, profit is just a survival tool for living out that passion.
Most companies exist somewhere in the middle.
One of our customers is a fifth-generation mason. He certainly has a focus on his economy but it is clear that he both expects and takes personal pride in the continuation of the company in his family. He has also created strong ties to his customer base and his local community.
Another customer has a big heart for his employees, who he sees as family. His treatment of them exceeds economic viability.
Each company has its own unique balance between the three bottom lines: the economic (blue), the environmental (green) and the social (red).
It is also important to mention the dynamic nature of the values. These are not constants but evolve alongside the personal values of the company’s stakeholders – primarily the owners, management and employees
There is a clear trend – for instance for the younger generations such as the millennials – that companies, in general, will begin to focus less on the economic bottom line and more on the other two – i.e., at the expense of the economy. Whether these are small changes over a period of time, or whether this is truly the beginning of a definite transition towards a new business paradigm, time will tell.
Want to learn more about how you can use values to make more money for your business? Click here