Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Does Corporate Social Responsibility Mean to You?

By Ashley Jacobs on 19 May 2015 226 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to our winners Renee, Rachel, and Kathe for winning this week's contest!

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) means different things to different people. From a company's perspective, it can be an effective way to tap corporate resources to drive positive social change, and it often includes programs that promote employee volunteerism and philanthropy—from matching charitable donations to organizing employee volunteer projects and more. While some people view CSR programs with skepticism, most prefer working for and doing business with companies that support the communities in which they operate.

What does corporate social responsibility mean to you? Do you believe it can be impactful?

This week, to celebrate its 12th annual Schwab Volunteer Week in which more than 4,500  employees volunteer for hundreds of service projects in communities nationwide, Charles Schwab is sponsoring $200 in prizes for our Ask the Readers giveaway! Make sure to tell us what corporate social responsibility means to you and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $150 Amazon Gift Card or one of two $25 Amazon Gift Cards!

Win a $150 Amazon Gift Card or 1 of 2 $25 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — here's how you can win!

Mandatory Comment Entry for a Chance to win a $150 Amazon Gift Card:

  • Post your answer in the comments section below. One commenter will win a $150 Amazon Gift Card!

To Win One of Two $25 Amazon Gift Cards:

  • You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of two $25 Amazon Gift Cards:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it!

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, May 25th, at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after May 25th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment and once by tweeting.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

This week, our Ask the Readers giveaway is sponsored by Charles Schwab in celebration of Schwab Volunteer Week!

Here is a message from our sponsor:

“Serving our communities is an important part of Schwab’s culture. In fact, one of our benefits is paid time off for employees to volunteer. We also organize a nationwide, week-long volunteer event called Schwab Volunteer Week (May 18-22, 2015), where thousands of employees volunteer with nonprofits in their communities. This year’s event has a record number of participants, with more than 4,600 Schwabbies donating approximately 18,000 service hours to 376 projects benefiting over 200 charities.

We support a vibrant mix of national nonprofit groups such as Boys & Girls Clubs, Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill and The Salvation Army, as well as local schools, parks, food banks, cultural centers, and organizations that provide health and human services to women, children, families and seniors.

Employee volunteer photos will be posted throughout the week on http://photos.aboutschwab.com/Schwab-Volunteer-Week. To learn more about what drives our commitment to investing in our communities during Schwab Volunteer Week and throughout the year, watch this video.”

© 2015 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (Member SIPC) All rights reserved

#0515-3632

Amazon is not a participant in or sponsor of this giveaway and is not affiliated with Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

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Guest's picture
Guest

To paraphrase Emerson:

To leave the world a bit better... To know even one life has breathed easier because your business existed.

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Mary Happymommy

Corporate responsibility is great because it boosts the company's PR efforts and it makes employees feel good about helping others. I think blood drives and canned food drives are really easy ways to help.

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Elena

It means giving back to your community

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Guest

To provide a useful service or product that improves lives and, therefore society. To provide productive and meaningful employment. To do no harm to customers and/or employees.

Guest's picture

I think all companies should be giving back to the communities they reside in - in some way. It may be as simple as offering to donate money annual to a charity of the corporations choice, or even as deep as involving employees within an event, such as a run to help raise awareness (perhaps the susan g komen events).

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Gina

Corporate social responsibility means taking care of your employees and giving back to the local community. Paying employees a living wage and providing them with full benefits. Encouraging employees to volunteer and matching charitable donations. It also means caring about and being part of the community you're in to make it a better place.

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Trezlen

Corporate Social Responsibility means that a company uses their money, power, and reputation for good and not for evil--both in the U.S. and overseas. To not take advantage of those who are less than you.

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Ernest S.

Corporate responsibility means giving back to the community of their customers, not just to improve, but to invest in making the world better.

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Heather S

I absolutely believe that corporate social responsibility is impactful. It's mindfulness. Mindfulness of your choices; choices that impact your employees, environment, community, the world. Being gentle and kind and leading by example.

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Amanda Sakovitz

Corporate responsibility means giving back to others

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Raina

I feel like corporate social responsibility means working to benefit society as a whole instead of just their company executives and/or shareholders. It means treating their employees fairly, being environmentally conscious, and acting ethically.

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Natalie

Corporate responsibility means giving back to the community and making our Earth a healthier place to live. It means volunteering, it means being ecofriendly and it means giving to charity.

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Susan P.

Many large corporations are devoting real time and money to environmental sustainability programs, alternative energy/cleantech, and various social welfare initiatives to benefit employees, customers, and the community at large.

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Mary W

Corporate responsibility is to provide your workers with a living wage, benefits, a clean safe work environment and equal opportunities for all workers. CR also means acting as a company in both socially responsible and environmentally responsible practices.

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Donna

Corporate responsibility means producing a useful product (tangible or otherwise) in a sustainable way. It also means treating your employees, your customers and the world in a respectful fashion, especially as regards "giving back." Paying a living wage, taking responsibility for any issues with your product, and funneling volunteer hours and products/cash toward the common good.

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Renee

Corporate responsibility can mean lots of things, but to me, the most meaningful ways a company can demonstrate social responsibility is by taking care of its employees through paying them a living wage and providing the proper benefits, ensuring that their goods and materials are ethically sourced, and giving back to the local community through volunteering and donations of goods/services.

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mcm

Corporate Responsibility means operating by ethical as well as financial guidelines. Every company should do its best to avoid wasting natural resources or violating basic human rights.

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Russell

Corporate social responsibility is the culmination of companies understanding that they are just as much a part of the community as the employees who make up the company. Corporations exist, in part, because the community allow them to. Knowing this, companies seek to promote and preserve the community through various efforts. It is not solely limited to charitable donations. It can include awareness programs to teach the community about topics from health to clean water to education. It could also include skills development courses or pipelines to employment for young adults.

Guest's picture

Corporate social responsibility is a commitment of companies to encourage and engage employees in community service/volunteering. Employers should offer a flex time incentive for employees who complete community service. The hours employees dedicate to volunteering should count as volunteer hours. Community engagement is imperative to community pride, growth, camaraderie and accountability. It is absolutely impactful.

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Emily

Corporations are not people. They do not have morals. They exist for one reason: to make money. We are deluding ourselves if we think anything different. I expect them to be transparent and that's about it. If you pay your employees crap and produce tons of pollution, at least be honest about it and let people decide if they do or don't want to give you their money based on facts.

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Jeff

giving back to the community

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Kristin G

Corporate social responsibility is not just acting the part, but actually practicing what you preach. If a company aims to support environmental and social issues they must be proactive in doing so. I think they should be at forefront of new plans and ways to achieve their goals. Corporate social responsibility means having their initiatives at the core of their operations. A company's social responsibility should be palpable.

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Donna D.

It means all corporations should help their community and share their wealth. They also need to see that the wages and healthcare benefits take care of their employee's needs while those employee's build the company wealth.

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MELISSA HANSSON

Corporate social responsibility is very important to me. Companies must consider the impact they have on the communities that their employees and their customers live in. Not just paying a living wage, but also leaving the environment no worse than how they found it and paying the taxes that allow a country to keep being a feasible host for the country. Too many U.S. companies are only out for what they can get, hiding offshore, avoiding taxes at all costs, paying so little that their employees need government assistance ... and leaving our country's infrastructure in shambles, the education of future American employees unfunded, and contributing to dangerous wealth inequality.

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Liisa R

I think it is extremely important that any company I work for supports causes and business practices that seek to better the world around us. Likewise, I would avoid working for a company that I knew acted in socially irresponsible ways. It might not seem like that big of a deal, but the places we invest time, money and work into do make a difference and if each of us demands that some good is done and that people are treated fairly the world will change for the better, a little bit at a time.

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Nicole D

Corporate social responsibility means to me: giving back to the community!

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Linda Nguyen

It means helping out the community, along with your fellow peers that believe in the same vision. Being aware of what the company stands for and believes in, helps everyone.

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Amy Smeltzer

Good for the environment and community, helping people and making the world better for a better future for us all

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Kelli

To me it means a company giving back and encouraging/allowing employees to give back too by granting them time to volunteer, matching donations, etc. I think it's great, especially when companies give much-needed time and money to animal charities.

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Gabrielle

I think it means that a company does more than espouse ethical beliefs. It means that they embrace ethical practices, such as fair wages, environmentally sound production, and community involvement. That's the kind of corporate conduct that has a meaningful impact.

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Elaine feliciano

Thank you Mr. Charles Schwab for your generosity. The volunteer program like Schwab's is a culture that all companies should indeed do! I do believe corporate social responsibility can be impactful. I am amazed how much a couple of hours of volunteering could have positive impact. Now I am wondering why this culture is unheard of?

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Jessica V.

Corporate social responsibility means being environmentally conscious, as well as producing something and/or engaging in communities in ways that improve the lives of those less fortunate.

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Crystal M

For me, Corporate responsibility means several things. I think giving back to the community is great but being APART of it is even better. The two are totally different from one another. Volunteering is a wonderful way to get out there and really be among the community, hear/see their needs. Don't just volunteer your time though, volunteer your knowledge as well as your EARS. Asking questions, receiving feedback and DOING something with that feedback not only makes the company as a whole seen and respected but can also make the company more efficient and productive in how it provides to the community in the future. I definitely believe that this can be a huge impact on individual lives as well as the community. Especially in an area where morale or overall feel to a community may be less than desirable. It can also bring in more business to not only their company, but to those around them. Tourists, those passing through, or even the locals. If you touch just one person's life, I truly believe it can create a domino effect. Along with individuals, you may start to see other corporations and businesses follow suit! Be a positive role model for businesses around you and watch to see what happens!

Guest's picture

As a client of Schwab a little giving back means a whole lot to the community. This gives free advertising and it builds office fun.

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Stacey b

Corporate Social Responsibility means using their money and power to also do good for people as a whole, or at least making it look like they are!

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Doing your part to make the world a better place by your practices.

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Thanks for the opportunity

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Candice M

Taking care of employees and the local communities, not exploiting underdeveloped nations, investing in actually improving the world instead of just profiting from it,

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Cynthia C

I think corporate social responsibility is a way to show the public that a company is more than a profit seeking organization. Enriching the communities in which a company exists makes everyone's life a little better and spreads good will.

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Christina

Corporate social responsibility means giving fair benefits to your workers, respecting your customers, and creating products or services that do not damage the community or world at large.

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sandra

a company that acts in a socially responsible manner in treating employees fairly. possible outreach and/or charitable contributions as well.

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Lauren

Corporate responsibility means striving for the public good and making the world a better place ... and looking out for one's employees!

Guest's picture

It means showing a human touch. Investing in the people that invest in your business. Spending time with people in the community, providing opportunities.

In other words, not always being worried about what you can get from consumers but what you can give and how you can become a true community member.

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An G

I believe it works. It unites the company as a whole and as a team working together to bring a more positive environment.

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amanda roach

I think its a fabulous idea! If more people in the world thought like this the world would be a much better place.

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Donna

To me it means NOT doing anything that hurts people or our environment. Unfortunately too many corporations they make a big show of donations but only to advertise--not to actually make choices which are responsible in making or distributing their products.

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Guest

It's a win-win for everyone! The company gets good PR, the community gets help, and the people doing the volunteer work feel good about themselves.

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Guest

It means having people be more like friends working together for a better world.

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Corporate Social Responsibility is about how companies manage the business processes to produce an overall positive impact on society.

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Louly

Corporate responsibility means giving back to the communities that support you and trying to make a difference for the better.

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jacqueline N

Corporate Social responsibility definitely includes volunteering in the community. It also means keeping jobs in the US, in the community. Outsourcing jobs to third world countries - whether it's call centers, payables, or manufacturing is wrong -Unless you have a branch in that country and are actually doing business there.

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Bekki

CSR means giving back to the community or those in need. I think it is very important, we are called to help the poor and those in need, as well as protect the earth. It makes sitting in a cube day in and day out worth it.

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Randall Myers

Corporate Social Responsibility to me means to have an active voice in the community.

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alicia szemon

corporate social responsibility means to me something that benefits the world(: It is a good thing.

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Goonieguy

Corporate responsibility means to give back to a community and not just siphon off resources. In essence, make the world a better place while you make money.

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Goonieguy

Corporate responsibility means to give back to a community and not just siphon off resources. In essence, make the world a better place while you make money.

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jules m.

to give back to the communities who support their business! which is a great thing to do :)

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MaryAnn

To me a corporation is socially responsible by doing things that they don't have to do to help people and the environment. Helping feed the hunger, using more sustainable products, and donating to charities among other things. Things that don't necessarily improve a corporation's bottom line.

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Mary Cloud

It means taking care of your employees and also being a good member of the community you're in and lending a helping hand when you can.

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Chela2002

Corporate responsibility is the ability to see beyond bottom lines, debt, and cash flow. A company who takes care of its employees, makes a genuine effort to improve the local community, and who sets the bar high for ethical practices can truly be considered responsible.

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Laura Royal

I think corporate social responsibility means improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large. It's a win for everyone!

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Bethany M

It means doing proper research on their product or service and do right by the public with that information.

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It;s extremely important for businesses to give back to their surrounding communities with either funds or volunteer time.
@wendywendy77581

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Christie

I think that corporate social responsibility means doing the best they can for their employees, thinking more about people than maximum profit, and taking care to not endanger the environment with waste or pollution. Finding new ways to take care of business and take care of society is a balance, but can be done and done well.

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Cherie Montorio

A business practice that involves participating in initiatives that benefit society is what corporate social responsibility means to me. I believe it can be impactful because it is becoming more mainstream for newer companies.

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raeree1

I believe that corporate responsibility means that a company takes responsibility for their product or service and its effects on our planet.

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raeree1

I believe that corporate responsibility means that a company takes responsibility for their product or service and its effects on our planet.

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Hannah Olsson

Corporate social responsibility means to caring for employees and giving back to the community

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Dorothy Boucher

It should be able to create jobs, better schools for our children, more development programs here in the USA, Big companies should also be more supportive to the communities in which they have a business or take part in.. I could go on but really why bother... the world has gone to poop...

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Terri Quick

It means being honest in their business practices

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Barrie

Corporate social responsibility means a company is taking care of the environment around them or in general. Companies that are putting toxins into air, water, or land MUST step up and STOP! I know this is hard but I believe the impact would be amazing and really make a difference!

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Cindy Lilly

Corporate responsibility is seemingly a lost yet still worthy cause these days. To me, it means cultivating a corporate environment that encourages employees to volunteer and give back to their community. It is important to have a real sense of connection to the community that you work in…beyond the routine coffee runs. It also builds a sense of alliance and gratitude.

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Ashley W

Corporate social responsibility means to me that corporations make a positive impact in the communities that house their businesses. This could be donating in kind donations, money, and/or volunteer opportunities through their employees.

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Linda

Corporate social responsibility to me means being involved in the community and giving back to causes that can benefit others.

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aarti

What does corporate social responsibility mean to you? Do you believe it can be impactful?

Yes, if our large corporations show that they are interested in giving back to the community and it will inspires others to do the same

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Sydney

I think it is most effective when people give their time in addition to money. This way the employees can feel some of the good reward as well, and return to the office feeling refreshed!

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Rebecca B. A. R.

I believe every cooperation should be socially responsible in treating their employees with respect and a living wage, by being environmentally responsible for their effects on the world with their production of items, and by supporting charities and their employees participating in charities.

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laurie damrose

It enriches the communitythe corporation serves.

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Nessie

To give back to the community

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Guest

Corporate responsibility is about acknowledging that your company has an impact in the community and taking responsibility for ensuring that that impact is a positive one. It makes me respect companies soo much more!

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Susan Smith

Corporate social responsibility means taking care of your employees and giving back to the local community, both in time and money.

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jenn

It means helping your community by giving to causes that improve peoples' lives and make the world a better place.

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golden storm

to give back and make peoples lives a little better

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katherine tino

Corporate social responsibility, to me, means paying employees a living wage, keeping executive salaries in check, doing no harm to the environment.

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Ty

Corporate social responsibility is the act of taking responsibility for the affects a company may have on the environment and social welfare. This involves corporations finding ways to promote positive environmental and social change in the world we live in.

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Lisa kubin

Corporate Social Responsibility is not a thing as far as I am concerned. Bottom line is the almighty dollar and company's receive benefits in some way for any so called social responsibility they exhibit.

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Racquelle

It means companies taking action in the surrounding communities.

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Liz

I work at a big bank, a place that has come under a lot of criticism by many people in the country since the last financial crisis. While you can't make every employee behave perfectly all the time, I think corporate social responsibility is something that everyone in a company needs to be involved in. It's a mindset for the entire firm to act ethically, do the best thing for your clients, and do the best thing for your community. We have community days for volunteering and sponsor a lot of great programs, and that's a side to the financial industry that I wish more people got a chance to see or understand.

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Paige

Impacting lives through business and leaving the community better off!

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Guest

Corporate Responsibility is a must have in all towns big and small. They help create a sense of public responsibility. Food Drives, Blood Drives and Clothing Drives are just a small amount that large companies can do to help, include and cheer on the local people.

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Jan Lee

Corporate Social Responsibility means for companies to be involved in the community they are based in, and with the general public that their company interacts with. It also means the company needs to be involved in providing jobs to the community/public (if it's possible with their products.) It also involves giving back to the community by offering that particular community/public, information about their company and it's products. It also means for the corporate industry to be responsible to follow all the state/Federal/International laws regarding their company, their employees and their products.

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M.Clark

To me corporate social responsibility is any action taken by a company or corporation to further the social good beyond the interests of the firm.

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Lois M.

It means environmentally friendly and sustainable... it means giving back to the community that is making you successful... it means being decent to your employees - it means people will want to buy what you are selling and work for you... and many other things.

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Guest

I have to admit I am one of those skeptical folks. CSR is nothing more than a PR expenditure and a hiring/retention tool. Businesses that are not in the business of social welfare tend to either make little to no impact or even totally screw over a community. They swoop in with dozens of unskilled laborers, clean up an area, take a few PR shots, and then leave to never return. The ones that do the best CSR hire/partner with a social welfare organization and just provide funds and people. And then they take it off their taxes as a business expense.

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Elle

Corporate social responsibility to me is a win/win situation. Companies give back to surrounding communities not only through donations but also through volunteering their time and in turn, the company is more appealing in the public's eyes which can boost business and make the company more successful.

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Marcy Meyer

I think it means being involved in the community. Making it a better place to live and work and raise children. Corporations need to be aware of better practices for the environment, for their employees and their families and other businesses in the area.

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Toni B

I think corporate responsibility is not only doing good for the community but also doing no harm. It's important to give back via charities, but that would not make up for polluting land or water.

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DeAnna Keller

Corporate responsibility mean (to me) treating their employees fairly, providing them with decent wages and taking care of them with benefits and vacations. Bigger corporations should give back to the community, but unfortunately most do not.

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Betty

Giving back to the community is a win- win. Great way to generate business with a positive image.

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Catseye

Treat the employees like human beings instead of indentured servants. The happier your employees are, the happier your customers will be. The stockholders will be happier, too.