CSR in Action

CSR Word CloudFor some, the term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) evokes images of strategies used by mega corporations to mitigate risks or manage their reputation. While this is one application of CSR, it is but a small piece of the CSR pie. The concept and goals of CSR can be applied to any organization, big or small, public, private, or non-profit, and even at the individual level. In many cases, CSR philosophies are ingrained in the motives and values of the organization – there are no plans in place, it’s just what an organization does. This is especially evident in SMEs (small-medium enterprises) where the owners are often the founders which fosters a greater commitment to the overall purpose of the organization. (Check out this article on Forbes for an interesting overview of CSR and SMEs).


What does CSR look like? How is it applicable to me?

CSR can take many forms. The following is a breakdown of examples of how innovative and creative value-added solutions can be engaged at the individual, micro, and macro level to help address societal, environmental, and economic challenges.


Individual: Promote and practice self-care. Happy, healthy individuals make happy, healthy employees, which make a happy, healthy community. Incorporate leisure strategies to foster wellness for balanced mind, body, and soul. The result? Increased productivity, fewer sick days, increased employee retention, and greater quality recruitment to name a few

Micro: Support and engage your employees. Whether it’s through enhanced benefit packages that include wellness allowances, personal development opportunities, social gatherings, or volunteer opportunities, CSR needs to come from within. If a culture of responsibility is embedded in the organization, it will naturally spread beyond

Macro: Support and engage your community. This can be done through philanthropy, volunteerism, event sponsorship, or more innovative solutions like providing meeting space or donating excess supplies


Individual: Encourage and reward green behaviour. Provide bike racks and showers to encourage employees to bike or walk to work; subsidize bus passes; support local, organic food

Micro: Create a green working environment. Reduce energy and waste at the workplace; purchase carbon offsets; follow a green building guide such as LEED; limit packaging; ensure good air and water quality; go outside! Have walking meetings, do a neighbourhood clean-up, or create an outdoor meeting/break space with native plants and a food garden

Macro: Work with other green companies. Evaluate your supply chain and seek like-valued companies to work with; support fair/direct trade; participate in international standards programs


Individual: Practice fiscal responsibility. Participate in socially responsible/ethical investing; support local businesses; make purchases based first on needs, not wants

Micro: Invest in your employees. Pay fair and equitable wages; provide professional development opportunities, invest in employee retirement plans; support other local businesses

Macro: Practice fiscal responsibility. Consider integrated reporting to provide transparency and full disclosure to your shareholders and stakeholders; invest in technology and innovation that supports sustainability


Integrating CSR into your organization can be done at any time. Start by evaluating what you’re already doing then look forward and vision what you would like to do. Create a plan that reflects your organization’s values and position in the market and embed it within your organization. The next post in this series will further explore the creation of CSR policies and plans. Until then, check out what other organizations are up to:

Industry Canada’s 4 examples of Leading Practice

MacLean’s Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations


Do you have any innovative ways that you incorporate CSR? Share them below or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter, or drop me a line by email or phone. Subscribe to our blog to be notified of further Sociable Thoughts on this topic and more!