Social responsibility can be put into three main categories.
- social obligation
- social reaction
- social responsiveness
a. Social obligation
Based on the fact that society supports a business by allowing it to exist, the business has a duty to supply the society with quality goods and services.
It should carry out its activities and make profit `within the limits of the law.
b. Social reaction
A business can sometimes be under pressure from society to do certain things. As such, the response of business gives/shows is referred to as a social reaction because the business is reacting to social pressure. This social reaction is not a voluntary action on the part of the business.
It is a behaviour demanded by a group or groups of people who have a direct interest in the organisations actions. E.g. a business could be forced to withdraw offensive advertisements by the public through social pressure.
c. Social responsiveness
This refers to actions taken by a business voluntarily. These actions may be due to the anticipation of future needs of a society which the business tries to satisfy.
A business that responds to the social needs will actively seek ways to solve social problems e.g. a business operating in a given locality may decide to employ some of the local people in order to reduce unemployment in the area.
A business should be socially responsible
Areas such as , to the customers by ensuring
1. SAFETY OF PRODUCTS
A business should show social responsibility by
- Producing quality and safe products i.e. products should not be harmful to people’s health
- Fairly pricing products – prices should not be exploitative
- Having clear advertisements that do not misrepresent facts
- Treating customers fairly
- Offering clear credit terms and adequate product information
- Responding quickly to customers complaints
- Conducting research before allowing a product in the market
- Proper labelling, packaging and presentation of products in a manner that the quality and quantity hazards of use and limitations of use are clearly set.
- Advising consumers about products and their use
2. TO THE GOVERNMENT
The business should be socially responsible to the government by:
- Complying with the government laws and regulations
- Paying proper taxes
- Supporting the government in welfare and development programmes
3. TO EMPLOYEES
Business should show social responsibility to employees by:
- Paying them fairly without delay and treating them humanly.
- Safeguarding their health and safety by proving safe working environment such as offering safety gear e.g. dust coats, factory boots etc.
- Providing employees welfare through provision of recreational facilities, housing, transport and credit facilities
- Offering equal opportunities in matters pertaining to promotions and training
- Offering training and educational opportunities equally to employees
4. TO SUPPLIERS AND CREDITORS
Businesses should be socially responsible to suppliers through:
- Fair and reasonable terms of purchase
- Fairness in tender allocation
- Paying suppliers for goods in time
- Not defaulting in payments
- Paying fair and reasonable interest rates to creditors
- Paying interest and principle amount in time to creditors
5. TO THE COMMUNITY /GENERAL PUBLIC
- By supporting or providing welfare programmes for the aged, handicapped and the under nourished in the community
- Making information concerning the business operations public
- Ensuring that business activities of the business do not have harmful effects to the community
- Providing educational recreational and healthy facilities
- Offering employment opportunities to disadvantaged in the society and even handicapped members Thus offering equal employment opportunities for employment to both males and females
- Avoiding pollution of environment through such things as noise , and waste products
6. TO NATURAL ENVIRONMENT
A business should be socially responsible towards the environment by:
- Recycling products – some of the materials that pollute the environment if thrown away carelessly can be taken back to the factory for recycling. Such materials become raw materials when producing other products, e.g. used plastic materials can be reprocessed into pellets which in turn can be used for furniture or trays thereby creating a healthy environment.
- Reducing all types of pollution(noise, water, air etc.)
- Ways of reducing noise can be devised e.g. those operating in Jua kali castor may be supplied ear plugs
- Business in the manufacturing sector should get a way of getting rid of unwanted chemicals and other wastes instead of channelling them into rivers
- Businesses should devise proper ways of disposing their gabbage, such waste pollutes the environment when disposed carelessly and it may breed flies especially during rainy seasons.
– However where effluent from factories must be channelled into the river then it needs to be treated first.
– Used water by business operators if put back into the rivers is a threat to life of water creatures like fish and also unsafe for human consumption. E.g. Nairobi river has suffered such pollution as a result of passing through an area that has both manufacturing and service industries.