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The role of IT in ensuring holistic CSR practices and business sustainability

The way consumers assess businesses is changing. Almost every enterprise today, no matter their size, scale or industry is making an effort to be known as a responsible business today, as consumers become more willing to pay for products and services that come from socially responsible organisations. 79% millennials say that they look for workplaces with active corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, and 83% say that they are fiercely loyal to those businesses who promote CSR and social well being (score.org) 

The numbers don’t lie. While a few years ago, CSR was clubbed in the ‘good to have’ category, today, it leads business transparency, company image and employee engagement. The intersection of the common good and successful decision making strategies is more real than ever today. In fact, it is a very important cog in the wheel for overall sustainable business development. It is imperative that CSR initiatives connect to the core business purpose intuitively, and help both, the bottom line and the top line of the enterprise. Most CSR initiatives, thus, fall under the umbrella of business sustainability now, and the responsibility to oversee and execute these initiatives is shouldered by the Chief Sustainability Officer. 

CSR mainly has three important outlooks, ie Social, Environmental and Economic, and these areas may also sometimes be referred to as People, Planet and Profit. Holistic CSR initiatives can directly impact the long-term performance and risk-reduction of the organisation. Some may focus on the environmental front and the carbon footprint generated by redundant supply chains, and look towards sourcing organic materials and products, recycled packaging and conserving biodiversity. 

Many businesses openly advertise their commitment to offering only cruelty-free ingredients and products. Volunteering efforts and charitable initiatives are also common all across the world, and often involve everyone in the company right from the newest employee to the C suite executives. Some CSR models also ensure that external and internal stakeholders receive fair treatment, and business are completely ethical in their approach. Fundraising initiatives, employee led volunteering drives and working towards improved labour policies also fall under CSR. In fact, as ESG becomes an important prerogative for enterprises, we are also seeing the rise of environmentally conscious investments and novel corporate policies that add to the greater environmental and social good of all those around us. 

One thing that binds these all together, though, is the IT infrastructure and tech support that drives these initiatives to success. In a digital first business landscape in the information age, functioning in the lack of a technologically innovative setup is almost impossible. Its transformational capabilities can simplify complex business processes, and connect information in-flow and outflow seamlessly. Automated workflows through cloud and digital dashboards allows for faster, agile systematic knowledge management. Enterprises are also turning to design thinking, tech integrated approaches to create intuitive training programs for their teams. 

Another important area where technology can help businesses get an upper hand over competition is reporting and monitoring. If there are no efficient monitoring tools available,expected outcomes cannot be mapped, and projects cannot be replicated at scale either. Tech-driven monitoring tools can organise data from reliable sources and provide useful insights in real time.The more real time data is analysed, the more confidence it builds within the stakeholders. GRI also says that this can lead to greater stakeholder empowerment and involvement in corporate sustainability mechanisms. Videos, interactive infographics and automated workflows for reporting can today either make or break your CSR strategy. This not only multiplies the impact of these CSR initiatives manifold, but also integrates the overall sustainability strategies and engagement opportunities for the business in one place. 

The correct mix of tech and talent can lead to an extremely valuable CSR strategy that is insightful, business focused and employee centric. It can propel a business’s sustainability strategy greatly. An expert, highly skilled team who understands these challenges can lead you in the right direction. At Treeni, we follow a consultant led approach, along with our disruptive, state of the art resustain™ model. Our smart play of technology and sustainability for enterprises in almost all industries. Get the right experts on board today to achieve greater heights of excellence!

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