Development of Social Responsibility Practices and Social Capital in Corporations

Recognizing the importance of social responsibility to their stakeholders, a vast majority of corporations now focus on and practice a few broad categories of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Corporations would integrate different CSR-generated policies, practices, initiatives, programmes, and projects in their organization based on their business vision, mission and strategies.


The development of CSR means can take reference from the general social responsibility reference or international standards, such as SA8000, ISO 50001, ISO 14001, ISO 26000, and United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (2015), etc.


Corporations can select their CSR means in accordance with the business strength, financial budget, internal and external resources, stakeholders’ needs and expectations, respect for rules of law, service targets and social requirements, etc. Incorporating the concept of Corporate Social Capital (CSC) while developing CSR practices has the advantage of fostering long-lasting impact through self-sustaining activities of a relationship network bound by shared values.


The seven social responsibility core subjects defined in ISO 26000 (Figure 4) can be applied for corporations to build and enhance CSC. Table 2 listed the seven core subjects and a brief description of the related social responsibility practices. Different issues of CSR may have different CSC elements and dimensions. CSC can improve the quality of CSR implementation. By performing CSR, organizations can build and enhance CSC.  Figure 5 illustrates the relationship between CSR and CSC. The six dimensions and elements of CSC are listed in Table 3.    

Figure 4. Social Responsibility: seven core subjects. Adapted from ISO 26000

Core subjects

Their respective practices

Organizational Governance (OG)

  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Corporate SR Commitment - strategies, objectives, and targets
  • Two-way communication processes with its stakeholders
  • Effective participation of employees in the organization’s social responsibility activities

Human Rights (HR)

  • Due diligence on potential human rights impact
  • Risk situation
  • Avoidance of complicity
  • Grievance mechanisms
  • Equal opportunities and non-discrimination
  • Individual civil and political rights
  • Fundamental principles and rights on labour issues

Labour Practices (LP)

  • Improvement of standards of living through secure employment and decent work
  • Work conditions, legal and social protection
  • Social dialogue relating to economic and social concerns
  • Health and safety at work
  • Human development and work training

The Environment (Env)

  • Prevention of pollution
  • Consumption and production of sustainable resources
  • Adaption and mitigation to climate change
  • Biodiversity and restoration of natural habitats and ecosystems

Fair Operating Practices (FOP)

  • Anti-corruption
  • Anti-competitive behaviour
  • Promoting social responsibility in the value chain
  • Recognition of property rights

Consumer Issues (CI)

  • Fair marketing, factual and unbiased information
  • Protection of consumers’ health and safety
  • Sustainable consumption and elimination of unsustainable patterns of production and consumption
  • Consumer service, support, and complaint and dispute resolution
  • Protection of consumer data and privacy
  • Access to essential services to satisfaction of basic needs
  • Education and awareness for consumers to make knowledgeable purchasing decisions and responsible consumption

Community Involvement and Development (CID)

  • Community involvement - proactive outreach to the community
  • Preservation and promotion of culture, education compatible with respect for human rights, public health
  • Employment creation and skills development
  • Technology development and access
  • Wealth and income creation
  • Social investment for improving social aspects of community life

Table 2. List of the seven Social Responsibility core subjects and their practices (please refer to Annex B for details)

Figure 5. Relationship between CSR and CSC


Six dimensions


  • Social networks
  • Mutual-help and reciprocity
  • Trust and solidarity
  • Social participation
  • Social cohesion and inclusion
  • Information and communication
  • Stakeholders’ needs identification
  • Win-win situation demonstrated
  • Network established
  • Corporate strengths identification
  • SR and SC policies formulation
  • Relationship established
  • Conduct stakeholder engagement
  • Regular contact with relevant value chain
  • Provision of professional information
  • Social networks creation
  • Provision of caring message
  • Sustainable partnership established with the collaborator
  • Shared value demonstrated
  • etc…

Table 3. List of Corporate Social Capital dimensions and elements

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