Can CSI go wrong?
Corporate social investment forms part of corporate social responsibility. Even though these two terms have been used interchangeably in past years, they don’t mean the same thing. The latter is the responsibility of a company with regards to its impact on the environment and society. The former is how the company actually initiates projects with the intention of uplifting society.
So, if this is a good thing, how can CSI go wrong?
The answer is yes.
As with any other strategy implemented by a company, CSI should be adopted with a clear plan in place. If this isn’t done, this is where thing go wrong.
Here’s how it could go wrong:
If the company loses focus on projects that can make money, then CSI won’t work. The entire process should be thoroughly communicated to all stakeholders. If shareholders start losing value in their investment however, this will backfire.
Losing sight of money-making opportunities for shareholders is a clear sign of CSI gone wrong. It may reduce investment efficiency once the ripple effects can be felt throughout the company.
Can CSI go wrong when a corporation pretends to be interested in CSI, in an effort to improve its bottom line? Definitely. Ethical organisations focus on the triple bottom line and this means that various impacts are measured, so once a company uses CSI to bolster the financial element, it begins to seem inauthentic.
When corporations use company initiatives to hide controversy, there is no way that CSI won’t go wrong.
When there isn’t a coherent narrative or when a company doesn’t have something coherent that it’s building toward, then a CSI initiative will go wrong. Any projects undertaken must be aligned to the company’s values.
Companies should focus on remaining authentic and consistent with implementation of their CSI strategies.