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· Volume II Issue IV

In this period of growth and progression, individuals should understand how a firm flourishes and sustains itself. Gaining profit is one of every corporation’s primary goals, but it should not be the only one. When an individual establishes a company to do business, they must be conscious of their contribution to society through their firm and its employees. We should be able to know that every gain contributes to it. One of the most significant elements in the success of a business is its participation in Corporate Social Responsibility.

In recent years, several movements have been organized to encourage companies to prioritize corporate social responsibility. According to Investopedia, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), also called corporate citizenship, is defined as a self-regulating business model that helps a company be socially accountable to itself, its stakeholders, and the public. By practicing CSR, companies will be aware of the kind of impact they are having on all aspects of society, including the economic, social, and environment. In the ordinary course of business, engaging in CSR will lead the company to operate in an enhancing way for society and the environment instead of contributing negatively to them.

Unilever is a classic example of a comprehensive CSR strategy. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) considers it exceptional in terms of CSR initiatives and performance. DJSI is a family of best-in-class investor benchmarks that evaluate firms in terms of sustainability best practices, guiding investors in long-term investment decisions. Unilever’s CSR strategy contributes to the strength of the brands in the consumer goods business. According to their business, the company prioritizes its stakeholders, such as consumers, which is their highest priority, employees, investors, suppliers, and communities. It also utilizes the CSR strategy as a supplement to preserve industry position and company sustainability. In 2016, Unilever’s manufacturing operations were expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and water use by 3% and global energy use by 2%. Meanwhile, last January 2017, they announced a commitment that all of their plastic packaging would be reusable and recyclable by 2025. Although CSR strategies have been most common among large corporations, small businesses are also encouraged to participate in CSR through smaller-scale programs such as donating to local charities and sponsoring local events.

While the long-term impact of the COVID-19 health crisis is uncertain, its immediate and ongoing effects have significantly impacted people and companies. The role of CSR has never been more important than today. Companies have sharpened their focus on CSR initiatives with their charitable efforts built into business operations. Going about with the usual CSR is no longer enough. To suitably respond to the emerging needs of the stakeholders, the resources and strategies of social investment initiatives should be carefully reassessed. Big businesses and companies have started to make donations, fundraising, and other forms of assistance to aid the public in the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lucio Tan Group (LTG), the parent business of Fortune Tobacco Corporation, donated a bio-molecular laboratory to the Philippine Red Cross in Batangas in May 2020, which would be used for COVID-19 initiatives (FTC). However, as tobacco companies help to ease the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, they continue to manufacture and promote a deadly product wherein research suggests tobacco contributes to severe COVID-19 outcomes and deaths.

As the pandemic affected the livelihoods of small enterprises and individual employees, e-commerce companies like Shopee have been particularly hands-on in assisting Filipino sellers to rise. Over 75,000 online businesses were registered during the pandemic, even though starting a business was hard, especially if you are not a geek or an entrepreneur in the first place. As a result, Shopee launched programs and assisted online sellers, making the transition to the online marketplace easier for them. This well-known e-commerce offered a PHP 200 million Seller Support Package to aid over 300,000 local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in their transition online. It includes reduced commission and operating costs as well as increased sales and marketing support. They have also raised funds for Filipinos in need during the Enhanced Community Quarantine. As many companies rely on their approach to business and operations, Shopee is continuously growing bigger and strengthening its mission to support local communities and Filipino entrepreneurs. Amid this health crisis, Shopee is digging deeper to help the economy grow while also providing more jobs for Filipinos.

In this critical period of the pandemic, citizens and employees are filled with fear and are losing hope. But, this has been a great opportunity for corporations to unveil their commitment to their employees, especially to society. During this time of crisis, the essence of CSR is not only to take care of its employees and shareholders, but also of other stakeholders, such as small contractors, MSME suppliers, and customers. Corporations should remember that human resources are still part of their business. Instead of treating their employees as an additional burden, they should see them as a source of hope for the company to keep on track. As the corporation’s CSR strategy responds to our health crisis, the changes and differences they wanted to make will be remembered by their employees, clients, and the public for years to come.