CSR – Trust, Innovation and Doing Good Things

2014-04-01, 09:25 Posted by: Tarmo Pajunen

This is my first blog as Cybercom's new CSR ambassador. I'm very excited to be involved Cybercom's CSR efforts; this is interesting time to do CSR work in ICT industry. In my first blog I will go through some basic CSR concepts and investigate what CSR means to us.

CSR stands for Corporate Sustainability and responsibility. The idea of a responsible corporation started around seventies and has developed through different stages of maturity and has now found its way, in one form or another, to every major company's agenda. But it would be mistake to call CSR a mature concept, it's far from that, there is still a lot of confusion about what is it and how to use it. But that immaturity also makes CSR interesting and creates opportunities and ways to differentiate.

Notion of social responsibility of corporations quite often bring up responses that are either cynical or naive (yes, there are some bad examples of CSR, like "greenwashing"). I would like to change that attitude and make people see more of the possibilities and how responsibility is already a part of Cybercom's core business.

First, let's think what responsibility means. Responsibility means to act beyond the minimum level set by laws and regulations, to act responsibly towards society and environment. This goes hand in hand with to Cybercom's core value of Trust, It also means to take responsibility beyond SLA's and contracts in customer relations, building partnership. There is no way of building real trust without acting responsibly. And this goes for clients, employees, owners, society and environment. It's very beneficial, if not necessary, for a company to have the trust of all the stakeholders to run long term profitable business. CSR is about building and strengthening that trust.

How about sustainability, what that means to Cybercom as an IT consultant company? I don't think it should be seen as a limiting factor to business, but as a valuable opportunity for growth, differentiation and innovation, we have biggest impact through our clients. In the huge United Nations Global Compact 2013 CEO study, 84% of CEO's report that they are actively investing in and employing new technologies to advance sustainability objectives. We want to be ready to help them, and that's not just some vague future plan, but something that is already part of our daily business of building digital services for our clients. Digital services and connectivity are at the heart of sustainable business. We are already building services that help our clients to save energy and resources in many indirect and direct ways, and we should always try to find new and better ways to do that. CSR is about innovation and growth.

About the cynicism, is CSR and corporate charity only about making more profit? Yes and no, and it does not matter. Actually, a lot of the CSR work is still driven by personal responsibility, In the UN Global Compact 2013 CEO study, 82% of CEOs believe that they have a pressing responsibility to leave a clear legacy on sustainability for future generations. But CSR work that brings clear competitive advantage is even better, and should be aimed for, because it will scale up and bring more responsible business. Finnish leading CSR network FIBS just released 2014 study of Finnish companies, it quite clearly shows that CSR creates more value for them than they realize. But in the end, for example for the 120 children in Gikongoro SOS Children's Village who benefit from Cybercom's long term partnership by getting IT education and safe home, the politics and business don't matter. For all the people in need whose daily life gets better from the billions of euros donated yearly by corporations for charitable causes, there is no room for cynicism. CSR is about making good things to happen.

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