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On Business, Sustainability, Innovation and Social Responsibility

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The concept of Corporate Citizenship is a heightened response that was derived from corporate social responsibility programs. The numerous outreach projects on community building, social empowerment and the deployment of community-changing or life-changing solutions from the many services / solutions that a private entity offers. The said solutions are often retrofitted and repurposed to serve community building. These activities are centred around social projects that are guided by working partnerships composed of corporate, private, non-government agencies and non-profit organizations.

Over the years, Corporate Social Responsibility has evolved from numerous sorties of civic and societal engagement into a viable platform where innovative and life-changing solutions are made. The communities who were once the ultimate beneficiaries of these products or projects are now more actively engaged — as equal partners and stakeholders who are charting their own path to enact changes, innovation and transformation out of guidance from their corporate or private partners in community building:

The Life Cycle Assessment of Sustainable Framework Programs

How viable and sustainable are the frameworks we have? In asserting viability out of theory and model, a life cycle assessment is enacted in measuring the results, effectivity and environmental effect of solution frameworks before they are introduced to communities. The four pillars of Life Cycle Assessment of Sustainable Frameworks are:

  • Product Development & Research Development – viability starts with strong research and product development to mold or set a product framework to motion. R&D as well as product testing adheres to standards, ethics and a clear governance model that shapes a product’s intended usage, its immediate cause & effect as well as variables on benefits, drawbacks and equity.
  • Supply Chain Management & Procurement – Introduction of a program, product or solution framework needs control on the supply chain from resource procurement, product creation, distribution and storage. This encompasses the company, the personnel assigned and the custodian or stakeholders who will enact the program in the long run. In maintaining the project or program, the continuity relies on long term support for resources, manpower, miscellaneous supply and constant evaluation of its effectivity.
  • Marketing – A great program tells its story or identifiably, sells itself to the market. But with corporate solutions for community building, an effective means of storytelling relies on marketing the cause to promote awareness and to inspire other private groups to embark on their own programs to benefit communities. In marketing, communication channels are defined, materials for distribution are up for fulfilment and constant community engagement with media and other outlets is required. 
  • Executive Level Management – As there is a growing sense of corporate social responsibility across the big businesses and small enterprises of the world, executive and corporate engagement is growing stronger and stronger. Executive leadership lends their expertise on management, resource allocation and long-term evaluation of the program’s efficiency.

Platform Sustainability Cycle

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Now that we have formulated a program and defined its lifecycle and all the requirements to maintain its effectively for long-term, a sustainability cycle is enacted. With regards to the various models available – from the circle economy to the investment cycle on product sustainability, the platform or program is seen as an evolving entity that is agile and receptive to the real-world changes in its environment. Whether it is disrupted by the effects of the pandemic or the state of finances from its core benefactors, sustainability is a long-term commitment in both resource and principle.

  1. Resource – Base – Life Cycle Definition – Defining the lifecycle and continuity scenarios in charting the program for long-term.
  1. Human and Environmental Factors – As environment changes, people change as they are also shaped by economics and environmental factors. In planning for years of continuity, there must be an emphasis on human roles on keen knowledge transfer from the ones who are handling the project to the stakeholders within the community building.
  1. Socio-Economic Benefits and Impacts – There are immediate, long-term and unintended impacts of the product or platform upon its conception, introduction and its ongoing activity. In addressing the socio-economic issues that it aims to solve, we must take into account its self-sustaining model in which investments or portions of its economic gains must be fed into the program to sustain itself. Long-term programs on community building must not be overly reliant on the financial or resource injection from its benefactors as it is traversing a territory where it has no legs to stand. 
  1. Total Costs and Life Cycle – Finance and the cost of resources in maintaining the program or project are huge factors that determine fiscal responsibility that are allotted to the said platform. Ongoing costs from month 1 to year 1 must be accounted for and scrutinized in adjusting its optimal efficiency for long-term support and self-sufficiency models.
  1. Technical Performance – A joint, governing entity consisting of private partnerships and community stakeholders are often left in charge of overseeing such projects or programs. The technical performance and its variables must also be actively measured to get insights on the programs’ overall efficiency and effectivity. Modern projects involve technological governance on analytics and quantifiable data to rate performances on time spans such as months, quarters and annual. Such insights give a clear picture if the project can be made more sustainable or there are red flag indicators where attention must be placed – for the long-term viability of the program.
  1. Resource Base Evaluation – So we’ve come at the end and beginning of the cycle where resources amounting to the requirement and the resources needed to continue the program is now under the microscope. An evolving program notably will need new, adjusted resources to maintain itself, and while we’re at the question we can ask: are there better resources available? Are these resources getting more costly annually? How can we invoke the program to be able to produce or at least have the capacity to procure itself with the resources it needs to sustain itself?

The most successful community building projects out of the CSR or Corporate Citizenship are the ones that are enduring and ongoing. In defining a long-term program, we must set to task its capabilities to sustain itself while leaving room to let it produce its assets and by-products that will benefit its immediate recipients – therefore by nurturing them, giving them the skills and opportunities to not only enrich themselves but to also. In the next article, we will highlight the models for integrating technology to social and community projects to facilitate their development aspects.

This article is published on BitPinas: On Business, Sustainability, Innovation and Social Responsibility

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