Social Responsibilities of Business towards Community
The business owes a great irresponsibility to the community in various directions. Some of the major areas where business can and does contribute towards community welfare as a part of its social responsibility are:
1. In the field of Industry
An important social responsibility of business/industry is to help rural areas by introducing “self help” and “earn-while-you-learn” programmes. Initially, such programmes may be labor intensive in areas like pottery, carpentry, weaving, spinning, industry based on agriculture, farming, dairy farming, pig rearing, poultry and storage, etc., so employment opportunities could be provided in rural areas.
For this purpose, business experts should survey areas that need improvement, skill requirement, financial assistance etc.
2. In the field of Agriculture
As a social responsibility, a large business house can play an important role in agricultural development, to provide full-time employment to the vast unemployed rural labour force.
For this purpose, the business should get the survey done by its experts in the field of climate, soil conditions, breeding of livestock facilities for irrigation and water supply and actual supply of fertilizers seeds, pesticides, expertise, and finances. Non-agricultural activities seeking linkage with the agricultural sector and the industrialized sector can also be developed.
3. Housing Facilities
The social responsibility of business in this sphere is great, specially because a major proportion of the rural population is doomed to diseases, squalid existence in hopelessly ill-planned and filthy houses. Therefore, business can play a major role by extending financial aid, by providing material and manpower support, home building practices etc.
In urban areas, slum clearance schemes, one or two room tenements with facilities for sanitation should be provided in labour colonies.
Business and other agencies can help the government by undertaking studies and programmes of technical and financial assistance to develop cheap public transport, increasing the operational efficiency and utilization of road capacity, enhanced licensing procedures, more rational and scientific estimates for vehicle fleet size and manpower for different modes of transport, improved maintenance and replacement policy for the spares, and structural changes in urban and rural layouts.
5. Health and Education
Business organizations have their responsibility towards improvement of the quality of the people of the community. They can and should be engaged in works like improving drainage system, adequate clean drinking water facility, enhancing sewage disposal system, waste management, pollution control, improving sanitation, construction of toilets etc., which will prevent many water-borne diseases. Medicines can be distributed free of cost, offering healthy food to children, sick people, pregnant mothers and aged people. Organizing camps should be conducted to treat minor ailments.
The problems responsible for ill-health in the rural areas need solution, for they result from lack of health education, unhealthy environment, unclean habits of living, poverty, poor diet, and the social culture. These problems can be solved through medical help, and the help of social workers. Besides, rural education could provide individuals with knowledge and skills to enable them to manage their families, to participate in cultural and economic life and to sharpen problem-solving capabilities.
6. Industrial Aid to Education in Urban Areas
Progressive individual businessmen and individual business houses are running or supporting schools, colleges and technical/professional educational institutions.
In fact, it is a part of modern social responsibility of business that it should support educational programmes, more particularly technical education. In some cases, they help by lending the services of their specialists (as visiting experts) and giving financial help.
7. Social Audit On Factual Assessment
This should be done by trained and professional personnel to show the social performance of business. The term “social audit” generally means
a comprehensive evaluation of the way a company discharges all its responsibilities to shareholders, customers, employees, community and the government.
A social audit should generally adopt a four-step process, viz;
- firm must itemize all the activities that have a potential social impact;
- the circumstances leading to these actions or activities must be explained;
- some evaluation of the performance must be conducted; and
- the company must examine the relationship between the goals of the firm and those of society to see how the programme relate to one another.
In brief, it may be said that
business must accept responsibility to the society and its various constituents as a trustee for the goods and services that it produces, consumes, saves and reinvests.
Such responsibilities extend beyond the business to the lives of the people and the community and as such they should endeavor to:
- play their proper role in civil affairs within the goals of the business;
- promote amenities and help, create better living conditions;
- help in making people law-abiding and improving legislation and administration in municipal and industrial affairs; and
- set up socially desirable standards of living, themselves avoiding ostentatious, wasteful expenditure, and improvident display in weddings, festivities and parties.