What is a corporate citizen?
What are the foundations of the corporate citizen?
What is the company’s role in society and how is it evolving?
The new social and environmental challenges have a significant impact on economic activity, prompting managers to review their strategy to meet the new expectations of consumers and public authorities: more ethics, transparency and accountability.
The role of business in society is changing, and we are seeing the emergence of new forms of entrepreneurship that are not limited to mere profit. The concept of corporate citizenship is part of this trend.
Definition: Corporate Citizen
The notion of corporate citizenship appears therefore that the conduct of an economic activity is in line with the collective interest.
Thus, a corporate citizen is an entrepreneurial structure positively involved in the issues of its social and environmental environment.
The corporate citizen: an improved concept.
Even if the very notion of “corporate citizenship” can give rise to debate, the fact is that it tends to become unavoidable and helps private enterprise in its quest for social legitimacy.
In this context, the organization acquires the status of corporate citizen for its involvement in the service of the common good.
It goes beyond the scope of traditional representation by declining, through its identity and actions, a formal and direct contribution to society.
Working in the same way as a typical company, the corporate citizen embodies however a deep and lasting change, from a purely market to a social or even political dimension.
The operation of the company will be more democratic and equitable:
collegiality is key in decision-making,
the involvement of all (managers, executives, employees) is strongly encouraged, including in equity participation.
What role for the corporate citizen?
Who says enterprise says production of wealth. But in its citizen dimension, the company goes beyond the stage of simple economic actor to integrate into a broader framework, involving different roles: economic, social and environmental.
1) The economic role.
On the economic front, the corporate citizen stands out from the mainstream enterprise in the way it produces the added value, and the way it shares it.
For example, a company that decides to make a profit on a territory (by the exploitation of its resources for example) without contributing to the development of the latter would be in contradiction with the principles of citizen entrepreneurship.
Fair Trade is an example of the positive economic action of corporate citizens. It allows to participate in the support of populations and local economic development, while ensuring a good level of profitability.
2) The social role.
The social aspect of the corporate citizen brings together different aspects:
the inclusion of various audiences (young people, disabled workers …),
the principle of equality (in terms of wages, in particular),
favorable working conditions and environment,
The involvement is also carried out outside the structure through various actions (humanitarian aid, sponsorship, patronage, endowment funds, logistical support, etc.), or the participation in development projects of isolated, peri-urban territories. or in difficulty.
See our article: Social enterprise: definition, examples
3) The environmental role.
On the environmental front, it should first be noted that French and European regulations require the protection of ecosystems.
The corporate citizen is the one who develops methods of production, extraction and transport ever more respectful of the environment, with internal objectives sometimes more restrictive than the legislation in force.
The eco-responsible dimension tends to take precedence over waste, with a growing number of players in the recycling sector.
See also our article: Creating a recycling business
From this perspective, impact-aware and change-ready companies integrate the principles of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) into their operations.
In the end, registering the evolution of your company towards a citizen model can only be beneficial in the long term, for the structure and for society as a whole.