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Corporate Social Responsibility of the Rich and Famous

|Aug 10|magazine17 min read
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) serves an influential role in today’s business operations and often affects decisions at the highest levels of management. Executives increasingly account for the public’s reaction to proposed initiatives and carefully analyze periphery consequences incurred.

Corporations can’t afford to be reactive in today’s 24-media cycle, complete with speculative pundits and an attention-starved blogosphere. Instead, corporations must be proactive and be community leaders that acquire goodwill through social responsibility programs.

Corporate Social Responsibility is more than a donation or a sponsorship in today’s global economy. Corporate Social Responsibility is a comprehensive philosophy that encompasses a ‘three pillar’ approach. Contemporary Corporate Social Responsibility in the private sector mirrors public sector full cost accounting, which seeks to satisfy the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit.

Corporations measure organizational success in the same framework. Regardless of industry, a business must demonstrate Corporate Social Responsibility by incorporating public interest into its processes. Here are three of Canada’s 15 most profitable companies and their Corporation Social Responsibility modus operandi.

1. Royal Bank of Canada
Canada’s largest bank and one of the largest banks is the world, RBC operates in 55 countries and generated $29 billion in revenue last year. In addition to publicizing the company’s CSR program on its website, RBC also publishes a yearly report and review for stakeholders, detailing social, economic and environmental commitments and impact.

RBC channels its efforts into serving the marketplace, the workplace, the environment and the community.

RBC values the manner in which the company makes money as much as how the company responsibly gives back to the community. RBC partnered with the University of Waterloo to create a retirement research centre designed to advise and support baby boomers transitioning into retirement.

RBC prides itself on creating a responsible environment and does so by providing learning and development opportunities. RBC was named Canada's Greenest Employers for 2010 by attracting employees via environmental leadership.

Continuing green policies, RBC created the RBC Environmental Blueprint, outlining policy, priorities and objectives, which collectively guides the company to reducing its environmental footprint by promoting environmentally responsible business activities. One of many initiatives, The RBC Blue Water Project is a 10-year, $50 million philanthropic commitment to watershed and clean drinking water protection.

More traditionally, the RBC Community Blueprint shapes community initiatives, community sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. RBC committed $105 million to community causes in 2009, including a $600,000 pledge to support the "Healthy Minds - Healthy Families" program offered by Healthy Minds Canada.

14. Enbridge Inc.
Like RBC, Enbridge takes a four-pronged approach using a corporate social responsibility policy document as a roadmap. The company compiles its efforts and actions into an annual report, also.

Enbridge strives to offset detrimental results of operations with positive reactions in what the company refers to as ‘Neutral Footprint.’ The ‘Tree for a Tree’ initiative binds the company to replant a tree for every tree removed. The ‘Acre for an Acre’ program prompts the company to conserve—through the Nature Conservancy of Canada—an acre of natural habitat for every acre permanently impacted by Enbridge operations.

And similarly, the ‘Kilowatt for a Kilowatt’ idea self-requires Enbridge to generate a KW hour of renewable energy for every hour of additional power operations consumed above 2008 levels.

Enbridge’s economic commitment aims to benefit communities through job creation, tax revenues and community development projects. The company supports the Aboriginal and Native American communities as well, realizing Enbridge is only as strong as the community in which it operates.

Similar to its ‘Neutral Footprint’ goals, Enbridge invests in renewable energy projects has currently operates six wind farms, a solar facility, and a hybrid fuel cell system. The company is also working on waste heat recovery technologies.

The social pillar of Enbridge’s CSR policy ranges from safe operations of pipelines to signing the United Nations Global Compact, an international initiative in support of human rights, labour and the environment.

15. Rogers Communications Inc.
Included in the Jantzi Social Index for passing a set of environmental, social and governance criteria, Rogers Communications’ wireless, cable, high-speed internet, telephony and media products alone do not satisfy its expectations.

Rogers’ support is directed toward arts and entertainment, social services, education, health, media production and sports. Across these disciplines, Rogers specifically intends to aid children and youth.

Rogers’ support has more breadth than just financial contributions. The corporation’s staff runs the Rogers Pumpkin Patrol to keep kids safe each Halloween and the company is the national wireless sponsor of the Phones-for-Food program.


Most corporations operating today know that their Corporate Social Responsibility policies play an equal, if not greater, role in the organization’s success as products and services.

A stockpile of goodwill from community endeavors can potentially mitigate plummeting stock prices as a result of unforeseen backlashes to well intended, but misguided actions.