Corporate social responsibility describes how companies manage their day-to-day business processes to produce a positive impact on society and the environment and can include specifically-designed programs that ‘give back’ to the community.
Toyota Motor Corporation Public Affairs Manager Katarina Persic shared how the global car giant develops partnerships and makes decisions when it comes to community and social responsibility at the Not for Profit and Corporate Partnerships conference in Sydney
Toyota describes its efforts as ‘social contribution’ and believes employee engagement and involvement is crucial in developing effective CSR strategy.
Toyota focuses on three main objectives: environment, traffic safety and education – all areas that impact the organisation’s business - as well as giving back to local communities generally.
In 2003, the company developed its Community Spirit Program. This focused on capacity building of Not for Profit partners, delivering long term sustainable benefits, supporting the business objectives of all parties and encouraged employee and dealership participation where possible. However, the program still lacked real impact.
"I knew something was missing and that was employee engagement," Persic said. Evaluation within the business showed Persic’s hunch to be correct and the Toyota Community Foundation was created in 2011.
"I recruited 12 employees from the company to become 'champions' and have input into what the community foundation will do," she said.
From this, Toyota established a workplace giving program in relation to disaster relief where the company matched employee donations. Toyota also established a community and employee fund which gives grants to community groups via their local government partnerships.
"Local activity must align with the global vision," she said.
"Corporate philanthropy and community investment for Toyota Australia must balance the three stakeholder needs."
Toyota's stakeholder needs for corporate philanthropy include the needs of the local community, employees of Toyota and the shareholders of Toyota in Japan.
"[Head office] tell us [Public affairs managers] to find Not for Profits that you believe are doing good and build their capacity," she said. Toyota concentrates on NFPs that are established and have clear and proven goals, rather than start-ups.