Business Engagement in Social & Economic Inclusion Research

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A. RESEARCH PURPOSE & BACKGROUND

The research will examine business practices and engagement in corporate social responsibility and charitable giving and seek to identify issues, opportunities and new approaches, as seen from the business perspective.

The purpose of this research project was to achieve the following objectives:

1. Describe the various models, case studies and approaches to corporate social responsibility and corporate charitable giving currently undertaken by companies in the Halifax Regional Municipality [ HRM] area and Nova Scotia and compare these to large companies who are regarded as leaders in corporate social responsibility best practices.  To accomplish this, secondary research sought to consolidate a large body of North American and International research studies, Internet websites, business case studies and best practices on corporate social responsibility.

2. Identify issues, opportunities and new approaches to corporate social responsibility, as seen from the business perspective in the HRM area, which it is felt may have applicability to the broader regional and national context.

3. Build the business case for increased corporate engagement in social and economic inclusion and community development in the HRM area which is also extendable to the broader regional and national context.  As part of this objective, provide a learning resource for business to access the best practices and provide a means and resource for the sharing of case studies and “stories” on how different companies are creatively interpreting and engaging corporate social responsibility and social and economic inclusion.

4. Develop a model framework for the types of business practices of HRM and Nova Scotian companies in corporate social responsibility and social and economic inclusion.

5. Make specific policy recommendations on strategic initiatives and/or sustainable strategies and processes to facilitate business to increase their efforts in corporate social responsibility.  The lessons learned from the research project should be extendable to the rest of Nova Scotia /Canada.

The research was conduced in two phases.

Phase I involved secondary research to identify the types of approaches, policies, activities and mechanisms that large leading companies are utilizing to conduct activities in social and economic inclusion and corporate social responsibility, as well as to identify sources of best practices.

Phase II of this research project involved primary research into the policies and practices of HRM companies.

B. VISION FOR THE REPORT

While one of the key purposes of this research was to examine the social and economic inclusion policies and practices of business it has been difficult to focus strictly on social and economic inclusion as a topic without a fairly broad review of overall corporate social responsibility policies and practices.  The reason for this relates to the fact that social and economic inclusion policies and practices are really an integral part of a company’s overall corporate social responsibility effort and as the following review will show, there are a number of key structural and process issues for most companies regarding their corporate social responsibility – even the largest, which are providing published corporate social responsibility reporting – which is limiting their full potential to achieve a position of excellence in corporate social responsibility and social and economic inclusion.  Business leaders should be, and indeed most are, critically concerned with creating centers or positions of excellence in all the company’s core / strategic areas of operations necessary to grow their company’s competitive position.  Indeed, many companies state this as a core value and/or in their vision or mission statements.  Valuing a position of excellence in corporate social responsibility and social and economic inclusion really should be a strong strategic fit for most companies.

A great deal of concern, time, effort, and resources are being expended by business in charitable giving, community investment/development and corporate social responsibility activities.  The range and creativity of company corporate social responsibility efforts and employee involvement and volunteering noted during this research is clear testimony to the strong social concern of many companies and their employees.  The vision and the hope for this research is that this report will contribute to how we can “do” corporate social responsibility and social and economic inclusion better and create positions of excellence in corporate social responsibility for Canadain corporations.