Going Beyond CSR To Sustainable Business

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During the 25th Universal Postal Union (UPU) Congress held in September 2012 in Qatar, the UPU committed itself to promote sustainable development of the Posts through ‘A greener and more caring Post’ as one of the goals of the Doha Postal strategy. What this means is that it will help Posts promote various initiatives designed to protect the environment, achieve sustainable economic development and encourage employers to improve the social conditions for their workers.

Many people believe sustainable business is only about the company’s profit line or its ability to stay afloat. This is only a portion of what sustainability includes when evaluating a business. In addition to increased annual revenues, other factors like increased staff motivation and innovation, increased staff development and retention, ethnic diversity, improved business processes and facilities, improved company image, improved waste management and energy conservation, increased staff education on environmental issues, among others, are involved.

By committing ourselves to working towards UPU’s sustainable development priority areas like fighting HIV/Aids, decent work, gender equality, social dialogue, climate change and other aspects of environment management, we shall not only take care of our employees’ wellbeing both at the workplace but at home and in their communities as well because such practices tend to have a trickle down effect.

We are at the beginning of a new year and many corporate companies are gearing up to implement a Corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. CSR these days has become an integral part of business vocabulary and has increasingly become a crucial issue in management. Granted, CSR comes with numerous benefits which should not be ignored; enhanced brand reputation and image, improved financial performance through increased access to new markets, improved access to capital, etc.

It would be better however if CSR went beyond the norm of donating to charitable causes in the hope of realizing some potential profit and rise to projects that far exceed that need.

CSR in Uganda is often synonymous with philanthropy and restricting it to this may even have a negative impact on the organizational climate as employees may become cynical if it becomes apparent that while their company is often very generous in terms of donations to charities, it does little to improve working conditions.

What I hope for is that while we go ahead to pay our dues to the societies in which we operate, let us not ignore the fact that charity indeed begins at home. Companies need to go back to the basics of sustainability in the work place. Employees need to come first so that real business sustainability is fully achieved.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Warren Buffett

(1930- )

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

(Greek Proverb)

write by miller

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