The changing environmental conditions around the world are accompanied by social, economic and environmental risks to communities. There is currently a huge global awareness around sustainability issues. A lot of businesses around the world are working to better the world we live in. They are increasingly using corporate social responsibility programmes to improve the wider environment. These programmes are being tailored to suit people and communities around the world, providing them with avenues for growth and development. There are enormous opportunities for communities that are hosts to sustainable businesses. A few examples of social opportunities for communities will be discussed below.
Businesses are increasingly launching empowerment programmes aimed at improving local communities. These programmes are being used to give back to communities around the world. For example, BSR has a popular program known as “women in factories China programme” empowering women with skills. The BSR’s Women in Factories programme impacted more than 90,000 workers in manufacturing supply chains in China between 2014-2017. Many corporate empowerment programmes around the world are targeting women in developing countries due to the obvious fact that women (in developing nations) are on a much lower income compared to their male counterparts. It is believed that women empowerment can help reduce poverty in communities.
Gone are the days where governments were left to provide social amenities for its citizenry. Businesses around the world are now investing in local communities via their corporate social responsibility initiatives. For example, Nestle has joined hands with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Africa. The IFRC’s Global Water and Sanitation Initiative (GWSI) aims to provide clean water to 30 million people around the globe by 2030.
Education is seen as a vitally important tool for developing communities. Many corporate responsibility programmes have been providing communities with educational programmes. Giant companies such as Ford and Nestle are providing educational programmes to communities around their sites. For example, education is a top priority for Ford. It has invested nearly $1.5 billion (through its Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services) in civic organizations around the world to help create a brighter future for present and incoming generations. A portion of its funds is used to provide education, including scholarships to students.
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Businesses around the world are working tirelessly to improve people and communities. Most of these businesses recognise that everyone has a role to play in pressing issues such as climate change. For example, the oil giant, Shell, through its social investment programme known as Shell LiveWIRE has been providing both financial and non-financial support to young entrepreneurs with smart ideas for a low carbon economy. A lot of innovations (such as Pavegen System, a technology that generates energy from footsteps) have been supported through the programme.
These are just a few of many social responsibility projects and/or programmes that are being used by businesses around the world to contribute positively to societies.