Business organisations should use their financial strengths to support every local community. A corporation should be ready to empower the immediate community for supporting its goals and objectives. Members of the community should be treated as essential stakeholders. Their needs, expectations, and problems should be taken seriously in order to have sustainable business practices. The Bank of Cyprus has been a leader in corporate social responsibility (CSR1). In order to achieve this goal, the Bank of Cyprus responds to people’s needs using its business initiatives (Social Responsibility: Bank of Cyprus 2015). The firm also promotes the best institutional and sustainable practices in an attempt to tackle various social challenges (Social Responsibility: Bank of Cyprus 2015). This paper, therefore, proposes a powerful CSR approach that can support the sustainability position of the Bank of Cyprus.
Conducting a CSR Assessment
Working definition of CSR
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is ‘the lifelong commitment by a business firm to act ethically and contribute to sustainable development that empowers local communities, employees, and the entire nation’ (Bansal & Roth 2000, p. 719).
Five Elements of a CSR Program
The first important thing was to assemble a CSR leadership team characterised by different players and stakeholders. Several legal professionals were also included in order to outline the major practices and issues to consider when designing a CSR program (Falk & Szech 2013). For instance, they identified the relevance of mandatory reporting and engagement in sustainability efforts. They also outlined the major legal issues that can face a company for failing to promote the best CSR practices.
The above working definition made it easier for the CSR leadership team to outline five major elements of an ethical business. Such elements can be used to determine whether a business organisation is engaging in the best CSR or not. The first aspect is ‘engaging in business-based social purposes’ (Bansal & Roth, 2000, p. 724). This aspect focuses on the major fundamentals of doing business. For instance, CSR programs should focus on the best business practices that can support the welfare of the wider society. The business operations should be carefully leveraged with the changing needs of society (Bansal & Roth 2000). York (2009) argues that the second element is the ability to have a clear change theory.2 The change theory focuses on the existing problems in a specific society. The next thing is to promote the best CSR practices that can address the identified problems (Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, 2011).
The third aspect of a powerful CSR strategy is the depth and quality of information. Proper CSR approaches should endow different stakeholders such as workers, community members, and customers with adequate information (Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights 2011). Evidence-based ideas will then be obtained from the stakeholders in order to promote better strategies that can produce positive outcomes (Friedman 1970). The fourth aspect of an effective CSR program is ‘the ability to have concentrated efforts’ (Porter & Linder 1995, p. 126).
The decision to have concentrated efforts bring together different players such as community members and stakeholders. The leaders should focus on the best approaches in order to deal with various social problems. Finally, the CSR strategy should ensure the company partners with different experts (Waldman 2011). This approach increases the level of performance. Social issue experts, parents, politicians, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can offer powerful incentives towards having a successful CSR strategy.3
The Bank’s CSR Position
A detailed analysis of the Bank of Cyprus’ initiatives shows clearly that the firm is a leader in CSR. The company has been focusing on the above list of CSR elements. To begin with, the bank promotes various social-based in order to support the ever-changing needs of many people in society. Its business operations and engagements are determined by the needs of society. As well, the firm’s activities are usually aimed at driving measurable changes in different communities (Social Responsibility: Bank of Cyprus 2015). The firm also provides its employees and external stakeholders with quality information. These stakeholders are always informed about the firm’s business processes and activities. The firm has also been focusing on the best activities in order to get the best results. The firm also focuses on every social responsibility project. Different players and stakeholders will collaborate in order to achieve the best outcomes (Waldman, 2011).
CSR should be considered whenever undertaking various external and internal business practices (Friedman, 1970). However, the firm has not been collaborating with different experts in CSR. The information availed to different stakeholders is also inadequate. Some foreign players can be unable to collaborate with the Bank of Cyprus in order to focus on the best social responsibility and sustainability outcomes. These gaps explain why a new CSR strategy can support the bank’s business and sustainability objectives.
Developing a CSR Strategy
The Bank of Cyprus has been offering financial assistance to the healthcare sector. This move has made it easier for more people to get the best medical support. The Bank of Cyprus also provides different resources to a large number of needy families and children. It has offered financial and entrepreneurship skills to more people. This kind of support has continued to empower more people in different societies. The bank has been on the frontline to invest in different sporting activities and education (Social Responsibility: Bank of Cyprus, 2015). It hires employees from the local community. The practice has been critical towards supporting its cultural heritage and corporate heritage. The environment is also taken seriously. The firm engages in various environmental protection programs.4 It also plants trees in order to make the surrounding environment more sustainable. These practices can be used to develop a powerful CSR strategy.
Proposed CSR Strategy
The Bank of Cyprus should always focus on its current CSR programs. To begin with, the CSR leadership team can make it easier for the firm to focus on new CSR actions. The first proposed approach is long-term in nature. The bank has been supporting the needy in the society. The bank can therefore create a new center to support more needy children. This long-term goal will ensure the firm offers adequate support to a large number of citizens (Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights 2011). As well, it should collaborate with different professionals and social workers. Different volunteers should also be encouraged to be part of the program. This strategy will ensure the company remains responsible.
New environmental conservation measures will play a positive role towards making the Bank of Cyprus an admired player in the industry. The rationale for this argument is that more countries and communities are facing a wide range of environmental problems.5 Corporations have the financial strength to support different communities in order to achieve the best goals. The approach will combine both long-term and short-term goals. The institution can organise new campaigns to plant more trees in every community (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 2011). Members of the public should be involved in the exercise in order to get the best results.
As well, the Bank of Cyprus should create a powerful CSR department to monitor the proposed sustainability practices. The gathered information should be shared with all potential stakeholders. The move will ensure every person is aware of the activities being undertaken by the bank. The next move is to make evidence-based observations and decisions. This strategy will make it possible for ‘the firm to collaborate with different professionals, NGOs, community members, and legal personnel’ (York 2009, p. 103). This proposal explains why the firm should focus on a wide range of areas in order to achieve its sustainability objectives.
The Bank of Cyprus operates in the financial sector. The bank’s CSR strategy should therefore present new measures that can ensure more customers understand the major security issues associated with money transfer and hacking. The bank can collaborate with different information technology (IT) experts in order to ensure every customer uses the company’s services with confidence (Vogel 2010). The goal will also ensure more people in the community are informed about the best measures to protect their credit cards and transactions. This should be a long-term goal because the financial sector is characterised by numerous challenges such as fraud and hacking.
The above CSR approaches will support the needs of many people in the community. Various problems such as climate change, environmental degradation, inequality, and cybercrime will be reduced within the shortest time possible.6 The firm will also be required to involve different players and professionals in order to have a powerful sense of direction. The proposed CSR strategy should also be revised periodically in order to cater for the changing needs of different community members (Vogel 2010).
Implementing the Proposed CSR Program
A powerful implementation process will be used for the above CSR program. The first approach is establishing a working group to define the path of the entire implementation process. The committee will include different individuals such as employees, the CEO, human resource (HR) manager, and external stakeholders. These individuals will play a positive role towards making the program successful (Wheelen & Hunger 2010). The group will be encouraged to identify the gaps and issues affecting many individuals in the targeted communities. This knowledge will ensure the CSR program is implemented in a professional manner.
Integration with the Firm’s Mission and Vision
The CSR will be implemented in accordance with the Bank of Cyprus’ vision and mission.7 However, the process will ensure the vision is changed in order to have a sense of sustainability. The new vision will inform more stakeholders about the company’s effort to promote the best business activities. It will also respond to the changing needs and social problems experienced in the society. The approach will inform more workers and stakeholders about the importance of different CSR activities. Teira (2007) argues that ‘every business operation should be aimed at maximising returns while at the same time tackling the major social problems affecting different people in the community’ (p. 519). The philosophy will be considered throughout the implementation process.
Codes of Conduct and Ethics
The process will focus on specific codes of conduct and ethics. To begin with, the implemented CSR program will focus on the best ethical actions. Every strategy will be aimed at supporting the welfare of the community. The integrity, privacy, and welfare of different beneficiaries will be treated with the required respect (Falk & Szech 2013). The firm will ‘focus on the best policies and regulations in order to operate within the law’ (Banerjee 2001, p. 498). As well, the initiative will be treated as an ethical obligation aimed at supporting the welfare of more people in the community. Participants and stakeholders will be required to focus on the best codes of conduct in order to address every sustainability issue (Teira 2007). They should remain accountable, ethical, and transparent. Information will be shared equally in order to get the best results.
Integrated CSR Decision-Making Structure and Targets
Every stakeholder will be involved throughout the CSR program. As well, professionals and NGOs groups will be consulted in order to focus on the best actions that can transform the experiences of different community members (Banerjee 2001). The decision-making process should also be in accordance with the company’s CSR values (Moore 2004). This approach will ensure the firm achieves its business potentials and remains ethical.8
Every CSR program will have a leader to monitor the targeted performances and goals. He or she will be required to set measurable and attainable goals. Such goals will be used as benchmarks to determine the success of the programs. The programs will also be executed by different players in order to achieve the best results (O’Brien 2011). The practice will include different stakeholders such as employees, the CEO, business departments, and the CSR manager. Different experts and NGOs will be involved in order to get the best results.
CSR training will be done before and during the implementation process. This training exercise will equip more participants with the best skills. Such skills will make it easier for the individuals to focus on the outlined CSR issues. Members of the public will also be equipped effective skills in order to support the CSR implementation process. Such members will include social workers, teachers, medical practitioners, and environmentalists. Government agencies will also be involved in order to ensure the program is executed in accordance with the law (Moore 2004). Problematic behaviors will be addressed by the CSR leader or manager.9
The CSR leader will also communicate effectively with different internal and external stakeholders. The manager will also ensure there is continued collaboration between the firm and the targeted communities (Falk & Szech 2013). The CSR leadership team will be required to make accurate decisions and address every problematic behavior encountered during the implementation process (O’Brien 2011). The team will also be required to undertake new reviews in order to ensure every targeted goal is achieved (Falk & Szech 2013). The team will also be expected to inform the public about its commitments. The move will attract more professionals from different backgrounds. The strategy will eventually ensure different social issues are addressed within the projected timeframe.
Banerjee, S 2001, ‘Managerial Perceptions of Corporate Environmentalism: Interpretations from Industry and Strategic Implications for Organisations’, Journal of Management Studies, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 489-513.
Bansal, P & Roth, K 2000, ‘Why companies go green: A model of ecological responsiveness’, Academy of Management Journal, vol. 43, no. 4, pp. 717-736.
Falk, A & Szech, N 2013, ‘Morals and Markets’, Science, vol. 340, no. 1, pp. 707-711.
Friedman, M 1970, ‘The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits’, New York Times Magazine, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 2-4.
Moore, E 2004, ‘Children and the Changing World of Advertising: JBE JBE’, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 161-167.
O’Brien, G 2011, ‘Marketing to Children: Accepting Responsibility’, Business Ethics, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 1-4.
Porter, M & Linder, C 1995, ‘Green and Competitive: Ending the Stalemate’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 120-134.
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Teira, D 2007, ‘Milton Friedman, the statistical methodologist’, History of Political Economy, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 511-527.
Vogel, D 2010, ‘The Private Regulation of Global Corporate Conduct: Achievements and Limitations’, Business and Society, vol. 49, no. 1, pp. 68-87.
Waldman, D 2011, ‘Moving forward with the concept of responsible leadership: three caveats to guide theory and research’, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 9875-9883.
Wheelen, T & Hunger, D 2010, Concepts in Strategic Management and Business Policy, Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper-Saddle River.
York, G 2009, ‘Pragmatic Sustainability: Translating Environmental Ethics into Competitive Advantage’, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 85, no. 1, pp. 97-109.
- Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a concept used by companies to regulate and monitor their business models in order to remain sustainable.
- Change Theory (CT) is a methodology for monitoring, planning, and implementing various activities that produce long-term social benefits.
- NGOs are organisations that do not focus on profit-making practices.
- Environmental protection programs are usually governed by various policies, laws, and ethical regulations.
- The needs of many societies and changes in the natural environment encourage corporations to focus on the issue of sustainability.
- Cybercrime has become a major challenge due to the current proliferation of different information technologies.
- The Bank of Cyprus’ vision is to ensure its business operations continue to support the welfare of every community.
- Ethical business practices have been observed to make many corporations successful and profitable.
- The role of a CSR leader is to promote various sustainability issues and focus on the best ethical practices in an organisation.