In the past 10 years, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a standard business practice. The companies that commit to a CSR program, it means kudos, along with improved reputation across stakeholder groups. The idea behind it is that businesses, as well as making money, can help enrich the community around them and the wider society.
What is Corporate Social Responsibility?
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a wide term used to describe the company’s efforts to contribute to society in some way. The European Commission defines CSR as “the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society”. These responsibilities and efforts can range from donating money to non-profits, to implementing environmentally friendly policies in the workplace.
CSR is important for all companies, regardless of the size or industries. The overall goal is to achieve a positive impact on society as a whole while maximizing the creation of shared value for the owners, employees, shareholders and stakeholders.
Once a company decides to adopt CSR-oriented activities, a strategy must be implemented. Establishing a clear CSR strategy is crucial, as it also influences the company’s competitiveness. And this strategy should include policies and procedures that integrate social, environmental, ethical, human rights and consumer concerns into the business’ operations and core strategy; all in collaboration with stakeholders.
Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility is viewed as vital in companies operating in relatively clean industries, such as manufacturing and technology. But for companies in industries that are commonly perceived as harmful for their customers, like online gaming and gambling, CSR is even more important and valuable. Some general benefits of CSR include:
Improved Company Brand
Proving to be a socially responsible company positively influences a company’s image and builds the brand. Engaging in relevant social matters create a positive image and improves public perception, which is critical to customers’ and shareholders’ confidence in the company. By being active in the community, the company can directly interact with potential customers and indirectly market the company and its products.
Stand Out from the Competition
Companies that are involved in the community and address social, environmental or human rights concerns stand out from the competition. This helps them demonstrate they care about more than just making money, but also to important causes. This gives them an advantage over companies that are not engaged in CRS. As a result, companies build stronger relationships with customers and investors.
Better Customer Engagement
Strong customer relationships are the cornerstone of a successful company. Having a social responsibility policy in place can impact the way buyers perceive the company, thus, influence their buying decisions. Customers are prone to choosing a product from socially responsible companies, even buying products that are more expensive when they know a portion of the profit goes to a worthy cause. In short, when companies invest in CSR, they help build positive relationships with customers, which ultimately can increase their sales.
Retaining Top Talent
It is often the case, that employees want to feel they are part of something greater, and social responsibility gives them the opportunity to leverage corporate resources to do good. Being part of a company that helps the greater good can boost employee morale and lead to greater productivity. Additionally, knowing a product is helping with a social cause creates a sense of pride, and that shows in improved relationships with other employees and customers.
CSR in Online Gaming
Gambling companies are frequently a target to CSR advocates due to their (negative) impact customers’ wellbeing – more often than not, players are left with no tangible assets as a result of their gaming spend. As a result, the industry has taken a hit. Even though this is rarely the case for iGaming operators, but they are assigned guilt-by-association.
In order to protect players, many online gaming operators invest in funds related to fighting and preventing gambling. Objectives such as ‘keeping crime out of gambling’, ‘ensuring gambling is conducted fairly and openly’, and ‘protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling’ additionally boost the moral necessity of online gaming companies to endorse problem gambling support organizations. For iGaming sites, that is usually in the form of Gamecare logo and link to the organization’s site. The industry has taken matters further and set clearly visible betting limits controllers on their sites via self-regulation and dictums on CSR set by regulators from the licensing jurisdiction of the brands operations. .
The Bottom Line
Whether companies use CSR for good, or as an exercise to enhance their brand, corporate social responsibility has become an integral part of the global business landscape. And the companies that take CSR seriously and make it part of their overall business vision and service and product offering generally outperform companies that are not engaged in any CSR activities.