Business strategy has, in recent years, leaned towards corporate social responsibility (or CSR). This is not only because there are many benefits that a company can gain from it—such as attracting employees, cutting costs and building customer loyalty—but also because this type of approach can help pave the way for a more resilient society and habitable planet. Although it is true that CSR cannot solve all of the world's problems, by instilling an ethical corporate culture through good business practises, it can have a considerable impact on both society and business.
By focusing on short and long-term goals, numerous businesses have embarked in environment and/or community projects. But it has been BHP Billiton's staggering actions that have placed it among the leading CSR companies in Australia. Through partnerships with non-governmental organisations, collaborations with third-world companies to meet environmental challenges, and contributions to disaster-affected communities, BHP Billiton has strived for social responsibility.
Community investment: In order to give back to the communities where BHP Billiton operates, the company has invested over $2 billion in local projects, in addition to paying taxes and royalties, ensuring local employment, and buying local goods and services. It has also founded two independent charities (i.e. Billiton Sustainable Communities and the BHP Billiton Foundation), in order to support not for profits in large-scale community projects. Furthermore, the BHP Billiton Matched Giving Program offers an innovative way to support communities: "for every dollar donated by an employee, a further two dollars is contributed to the recipient organisation".
Aiding Economic Development: BHP's investments are targeted towards economic development and sustainability. The company conducts technical training and skills development in order for community businesses to prosper. Two noteworthy programs that have played a significant role in aiding economic development are: (i) the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) Local Buying Program, which gives local businesses more visibility for operators as well as a more competitive edge through the program's investment on business development; and (ii) the World Class Supplier Program, which offers consulting and strategic planning to BHP businesses based in Chile to develop innovative solutions to confront environmental and operational challenges.
Supporting Disaster Relief: BHP Billiton donated $3 million dollars to Foundation Un Techo, a not for profit, after an 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit Chile in 2010, leaving around 2 million victims and destroying 500,000 homes. With these funds, two schools were built. Moreover, the Company also donated $2 billion to local communities after cyclone Oswald hit Queensland and New South Wales back in 2011.
It is precisely this kind of determined corporate leadership that is going to help imbue CSR into other areas and evolve the economy as we know it.