The frame of reference for the energy companies has enlarged over a period with a change in the profile. The major change in profile emanates out of the philosophy to transform the commercial 'buyer-seller' or 'client-server' relations into socio-economic development as 'partners in inclusive growth'. Anthropology engineers coined a phrase Corporate Social Responsibility - CSR and made this an acceptable tool to gauge the performance of commercial establishments in their sphere of influence.
- CSR is a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with stakeholders on a voluntary basis. (source: CSR Europe)
- Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large. (source: The World Business Council for Sustainable Development in its publication "Making Good Business Sense" by Lord Holme and Richard Watts)
- Corporate social responsibility is the commitment of businesses to contribute to sustainable economic development by working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve their lives in ways that are good for business and for development. (Source: International Finance Corporation, Member of the World Bank Group.)
There could be different wordings of the definitions; however, the spirit is common - The Spirit of Socio-Economic Development.
We have heard of sceptical remarks like "the corporate social responsibility of a commercial organization is to make profit". Such remarks do have an element of truth. Commercial organizations need to make profit and invest a share of that profit in social responsibility projects and activities. The bottom line is not profit alone. We refer to Triple Bottom Line (3BL or TBL)
Definition of 3BL (or TBL) (source: Wikipedia)
In practical terms, triple bottom line accounting means expanding the traditional reporting framework to take into account ecological and social performance in addition to financial performance.
The three bottom lines are People (human capital), Planet (nature capital) and Profit.