Social Responsibility in the Local Community
The relationship between businesses and communities in which they operate is certainly two-way and based on interdependence. Companies are an integral part of the community in which they operate and they affect their economic and social development. If the community is exposed to unfavorable effects of poverty, poor and insufficient education, crime, ethnic tensions, etc., then, it is also the case with the businesses that operate in it – business chances are decreasing, while costs are rising.
Successful CSR projects in this area depend largely on direct interaction between companies and communities and they are based on the experience of the companies on the needs and problems with which local community is facing.
Activities related to community development usually make the most visible aspect of corporate social responsibility. Although, in practice, they are often reduced to corporate philanthropy, there is an increasing tendency to cooperate with the local community in a strategic and partnership manner, bearing in mind that the way the company employs, buys, strengthens the economy and the quality of life of its immediate environment can be a new opportunity for development of successful communities.
What distinguishes the current approach from past initiatives is the tendency to strategically manage these projects. Through the involvement of stakeholders, companies internalize social needs, expectations and circumstances into their business decisions and, above all, recognize the value of the community in which they operate. The credibility and mutual trust on which the relationship with the community is based implies maintaining an open dialogue, monitoring and evaluating the effects of the implemented projects, and transparent reporting of results.