If corporate social responsibility (CSR) is all about social accountability and serving the interests of local communities, there are many ways to go about it. New global trends are emerging that take into account the latest socio-economic shifts as well as the ever-changing priorities both within local communities and on the global scale.
Eric-Theodore Yepao is the founder and CEO of Nordland Holding Europe GmbH, a company that focuses on the construction and investment of private cities. Private cities are regions owned by organizations or individuals who provide all the necessary services to the residents. This model of government allows the region to have its own taxation, administration, and financial systems. Eric believes that companies have an obligation to contribute to the well-being of all their stakeholders including but not limited to employees and surrounding communities. Today his business has grown to include dealings in many countries and cities, including Paris, France.
The environment has always been in the hearts and on the minds of the new generations, especially Generation Z. Many companies have made the decision to reduce their carbon footprint and adapt more environment-friendly practices. However, as Eric-Theodore Yepao notes, there’s a difference between reducing carbon emissions and eliminating them altogether.
Encouraged by the many progressive policies big corporations along with governments have committed to, many companies are setting themselves ambitious goals of becoming fully green within a set number of years. Consumers are watching and cheering for every company that joins the environment-friendly club.
Innovation is a costly endeavor and a difficult target that eludes many. It requires a lot of resources poured into the R&D departments to come up with new solutions to old problems. The closer these problems are to local communities and ordinary people, the more important the solution becomes. Such an innovative solution creates a PR success story for the company and bumps it up a few notches on the consumer favorability scale.
This is why Eric-Theodore Yepao recommends innovation as an integral part of every company’s CSR policy. It helps put the company on the social map and makes the brand both more noticeable and marketable at the same time.
It goes without saying that a lot goes on behind the corporate scenes. Competition is tough and staying ahead of the competitors might require cutting corners and plenty of wheeling and dealing. However, the public is demanding to know more about these dealings and whether there’s something shady in the way the company is doing business.
Social media has made it easier for rumors to start and spread out and before anybody can do anything about it, and stocks can plummet as a result. Eric-Theodore Yepao sees corporate transparency as the best policy to deal with these situations. The more open the company is about its internal policies and the way it does business, the less likely stakeholders and the general public will give credit to fabricated news or lies about said company.
Eric-Theodore Yepao on Employees and their Rights
If recent events in Google and Amazon are any indication, it’s clear that employees are finding their voice and putting large corporations in an unfavorable light. The public often takes the side of the employees and assumes that big corporations are in the wrong. This is the kind of situation where the company always loses. It’s a PR nightmare that would cost the company a lot both in brand reputation and sales.
According to Eric-Theodore Yepao, one of the best ways for companies to avoid these situations is to adopt policies that put the employees’ interests and welfare front and center. This doesn’t just affect work conditions and compensation, but is takes a broader scope and covers the employees’ lives outside of the workplace as well.
Buzzwords are catchy and get the consumer’s attention. But only for a short period of time. It’s time for companies to look beyond buzzwords and play the long game. The idea is to get the public engaged with a long-term goal that touches on the concerns and aspirations of a large swath of society. Consumers have a heightened awareness and can tell when a company is actually committed to saving the environment and helping local communities by getting behind the right cause, says Eric-Theodore Yepao.