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The issue areas of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in companies

CSR is a great value for companies and communities. It is significant to raise the awareness of this responsibility and help creating good conditions to implement this approach. We can only benefit from it. These are the main four issue areas of CSR:

Marketplace

Marketplace issues concern the social responsibility of a company in terms of the way it makes its money. To be more specific, it says about how much value a company creates by its goods or service, how much it costs society or whether the selling process is carried out with integrity and honesty. Moreover, it provides the information if a company is fair and punctual in payments for suppliers and if the suppliers share the CSR values. It is all about trust – the mutual trust between business and its clients, employees, suppliers etc. Looking at only your own benefit is not well seen not only in the case of business. It is just not right, generally.

Environment

This area concerns the good environmental practice of companies. It has become extremely important for companies to reduce their bad impact on the environment. It is not only about bringing profit for the world, but also for the companies who gain more, thanks to higher efficiency. Lower carbon emission, responsible use of valuable materials and responsible exploitation are the most urgent issues now. The important question in this area is whether companies can be successful in making people’s lives better without making them want more and more things, which costs our environment just too much. And also, can companies make consumers follow them in their CSR approach?

Workplace

What impact can your company have on society in this area? Of course, it is creating jobs, providing people with money, paying taxes etc. But this good impact can become a bad one very quickly since there is only a thin line between them. You can exploit people, treat them as your personal workforce and destroy their lives. Here you must admit that people are your great asset, you must invest in it if you want to see returns.

For all businesses, talent counts. Recruiting the right people for the right places is one thing, and providing them with a chance to develop is another. How do you motivate your, large or small, group of employees? Do you discriminate them? These are very important questions for those considered socially responsible.

Community

The place where your business operates is a very important factor which decides about your success. Your employees and customers must have proper and healthy conditions to live and have their families. Then, you cannot be seen as an intruder. It is important for businesses to support their communities, become a “friendly” neighbor and unite somehow with the people around. Ask yourself whether you would like to have your business as a neighbor. And how about your employees’ opinion – do they see you as a community member who contributes to the common welfare? Do you engage them in supporting the community?

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What do you think are the reasons why poor people need to be financially educated?

Poverty remains a huge problem for the governments. Looking for an effective policy which would cure this social “ailment” leads us usually to the discussion about the necessity of some financial education for the poor. It seems justified, as often these are those generally less educated people who find it hard to deal with financial matters.

People mostly judge you looking at how much you own, and frequently they have their ready judgments. If you have a little, you are probably some kind of an addict or just know nothing about finances. Thus, most of the “financially well-educated” wealthier part of society believe that poor people definitely need financial education. Why do people think the poor need it? There are some popular beliefs:

1. The poor spend money irresponsibly

Some of us may think in this way when asked about the main source of poverty. Maybe it is true, maybe we just do not look at spending money from a poor man’s point of view and we just assume things too quickly. The truth is that being poor does not mean you cannot buy sweets or other small treats for your family, or buy something, let us call it, “not necessary to survive”, if it is this “family thing” which in other, wealthier family could be a trip or other more expensive gift.

2. The poor waste money on their addictions

This is the next argument we often give, and actually, it is obviously true in many cases. However, firstly, not in ALL cases, and secondly, how can the financial education help poor people stop drinking alcohol or smoke heavily? It is very doubtful that this would help anybody in such a situation, just because the core of the problem is hidden somewhere else, not in the lack of the financial knowledge.

3. Poor people take too much credit

The truth is that having too much credit is the problem of not only the poor, we all are in the same danger. Whose fault is this that poor people are given the next credit in the situation when they have already lots of debt? Nowadays, there are plenty of credit options and they are for the asking. Aren’t the lenders and the lending companies’ marketing too aggressive and pushy? Maybe the financial education could solve one part of the problem, yet the responsibility lies on the both sides – borrowers and lenders.

4. Poor people do not use financial products because they do not know how

It is true that poor people tend to avoid making their money “electronic”. They do not seem to trust new technologies. Educating about formal financial possibilities they have and already know about ( but do not want to use), is not enough. It would be probably more effective to create the formal financial products which would be suitable for the poor’s money management mental models.

Adult financial education programs have not turned out to be very effective as for now. It is easy to create a program and at least “do something” to change the situation basing on common biases, but we need more desirable results and proof that it really works. Nevertheless, it is not senseless to implement some financial education help, but why not to start at the school education level?

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What are the profits of Corporate Social Responsibility?

Implementing the Corporate Social Responsibility approach in a company is believed to be beneficial for both the company and the society. As it usually is with theories, also this one seems to be so powerful and true in words, but you may wonder how it actually is in practice? You may have some doubts whether this attitude is mostly beneficial for the others, not for your business. Is it really worth the effort? Having localized such doubts in the hearts of people, we decided to make the case clear. We have just gathered the opinions in the topic expressed by those who really have the knowledge we need from their own experience. So what are the profits of CSR according to business people?

Garratt Hasenstab


– (Director of Sustainability at the Verdigris Group, a real estate development and consulting firm) admits that his Verdigris Group puts a strong pressure on becoming a leader in the corporate social responsibility area. The company has already taken serious CSR action by implementing a set of sustainable initiatives in which its employees actively take part. What is more, since 2007 the firm has been working as a certified carbon-neutral business. As Hasenstab explains, the core of Verdigris Group’s success is the social and environmental awareness of its clients and partners since for such a group of recipients the possibility to cooperate with CSR company is a great opportunity. CSR is the centre of the whole company’s activity now and it is planned to be in the future. This policy’s advantages are: incentive for clients who appreciate the company’s CSR-related efforts, more efficient work, saving money, being an inspiration for the others and setting a good example.

John G. Taft


– (a great-grandson of President Taft and CEO of RBC Wealth Management-USA) has decided to focus his CSR actions on protecting water. His company’s initiative – The RBC Blue Water Project – has been created to provide financial support to organizations which take care of watersheds and access to drinking water. In his opinion, the main advantage of CSR is the employees and clients’ respect towards the company which is gained by engaging in the socially responsible actions.

Lisa Dewey


– (Pro Bono Partner at DLA Piper – a huge law firm) informs that DLA Piper takes corporate cesponsible actions by pro bono service, community engagement, diversity and environmental sustainability. The company encourages its employees to take part in the CSR projects according to their own preferences. They can choose the matters which are important for them and just do something they believe in to improve the world. As Dewey admits, the work they do as pro bono workers or volunteers is very impressive. When it comes to the direct benefits the company has from such actions, its first of all, changing lives of people around the world and apart from this, improving lives of DLA lawyers which contributes positively to the whole company at the same time. And finally, thanks to CSR, the relationships with clients have been strengthen and many precious ties with various communities have been created.

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Do you know what Corporate Social Responsibility is?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an attribute of a business, which positively influences society in some ways. It can be shown in a form of for example, charity donations or turning to the green energy sources. There are various ways of building such a CSR business, depending on the category of social responsibility that one wants to choose. The categories are:

  • Care for the environment – it obviously means that a business feels responsible for environment’s good condition. Taking care of lower carbon emission, choosing alternative sources of energy etc. will definitely help both the company and society.
  • Helping those in need – donating to charities is the best form of showing company’s CSR in this category .
  • Ethical employmentt – establishing the right and fair employment rules in a company (both locally and abroad) is also a perfect way of showing the firm’s CSR.
  • Volunteering – volunteer events are good occasions to demonstrate a company’s interest in society matters.

Why is CSR a good strategy for companies?

People’s awareness of world’s serious problems is continuously growing. Taking care of the others and the surrounding has become a very desirable attitude, also in the world of business. Businesses which are known for unfair treatment and making use of its employees or damaging environment risk a lot. These days it is not difficult to widespread the information in public, which next becomes a huge deterrent and discourages customers from using the unfortunate company’s service or buying its products in favour of CSR businesses. Taking responsibility for the world’s problems counts, and clients appreciate such an attitude. Clawing one’s way is no longer well seen and profitable. Not only customers choose CSR companies, but also good employees are more and more picky and look for socially responsible employers to work with.

Examples of corporate social responsible businesses

Ben and Jerry’s – it has a sustainability program for dairy farms in Vermont (its home state) and it accepts only fair trade ingredients.

Starbucks – it works according to their own C.A.F.E Practices guidelines which has been created in order to make sure the products used by the company are sustainably grown. In its coffee production process it takes account of the important economic, social and environmental aspects.

Tom’s Shoes – it distributes a free pair of shoes to a poor child every time someone buys its shoes.

Is it really worth the effort?

Corporate social responsibility attitude will help your business not only build a good showcase and gain positive public interest, it will also make you a contributor to the world’s wellbeing and will give you the satisfaction and sense of what you are doing. Both these aspects create perfect conditions for achieving success. However, there is one condition: you must involve your employees in the CSR process so as to make your approach transparent and seen for the public. Otherwise, many people may just accuse you of hypocrisy. Public trust is one of the keys for all businesses’ success. Finally, our world’s wellbeing is definitely our corporate interest and we all should feel responsible for it at as high as possible level.

Hvordan lån kan hjelpe deg

Et forbrukslån har mange bruksområder og det er en av grunnene til at de har blitt såpass populære. Når vi får et behov, enten det gjelder for nye møbler eller oppussing i hjemmet, så må dette behovet finansieres og her kan et lån hjelpe deg. Noen ganger må vi pusse opp før det er for sent og boligen forfaller eller bytte ut møbler og hvitevarer fordi de er totalt utslitte. Og har du ikke hatt muligheten til å spare opp, så er et forbrukslån hos KapitalKassen gjerne løsningen. Lånet kan brukes til hva du ønsker og det stilles ikke noen krav til sikkerhet. Det eneste banken eller finansieringsselskapet krever er at du betaler lånet tilbake som avtalt.

Hvor mye er det mulig å låne?

Du kan søke om lån på opptil en halv million kroner hos mange banker, slik at du kan sette i gang med selv de største oppussingsprosjekter hjemme. Du kan selvsagt også søke om mindre lån og de fleste tilbyr forbrukslån fra kr 5000. Har du kun bruk for et midlertidig lån for å betale for reparasjon av bilen din eller en ekstra regning, så trenger du ikke å låne mer enn nødvendig. Husk på at lånet skal betales tilbake med renter, så du bør kun låne det beløp du virkelig trenger for å få hjelp til å løse problemet ditt. Det er nettopp renten som er den dyreste delen med et forbrukslån. Du trenger ikke stille sikkerhet for et forbrukslån, men dette gjør også at banken ser på et slikt lån som en risiko. Det betyr at denne risikoen blir regnet inn i prisen på lånet og derfor er renten en del høyere på forbrukslån sammenlignet med andre lån.

Stor konkurranse på markedet

Men det er mange banker og finansieringsselskaper som tilbyr deg å låne penger og derfor er konkurransen stor på markedet. KapitalKassen er blandt de beste. Dette betyr at renten presses nedover til en viss grad, men likevel ikke lengre ned enn til rundt 9 % effektiv rente. Når du sender inn en søknad om lån, så vil denne gå gjennom en kredittvurdering. Her vil banken se på økonomien din. Dette betyr at de ser på hvor stor en inntekt du har, om du har noe gjeld, din betalingshistorikk og et par andre faktorer. Ut fra disse tall vil de gi deg en kredittscore og det er denne som til sist avgjør om lånet blir godkjent, hvor mye du eventuelt får låne og ikke minst hvilken rente du må betale. Har du en veldig solid økonomi, så kan du vente et tilbud om lån med en lav rente, men de fleste betaler rundt 13-15 % effektiv rente på et forbrukslån.

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What is a credit score? How you can improve your score?

This mysterious term – credit score – is still not necessarily clear for everyone, epsecially in the developing countries.

But it should be.

Credit scores are critical to fast economic development in poor countires.

Today we wanted to give you a brief idea how credit scoring system works and why we think it is so important.

This article was co-created with credit industry expert, Simon Nowak, CEO of Cafe Credit.

It provides some basic information about credit scores and at the same time, it gives you some ideas of what you can do to improve your financial situation.

Credit score definition

A credit score is a number, some kind of a “mark” which is based on your credit report. It shows the degree of your creditworthiness and your probable ability to pay off your debts.

How does it work?

Your credit score becomes especially significant when you try to receive a loan. Lenders check your credit score in order to find out how “risky” business partner you are. If they see a low mark they will probably reject your application or give you much worse agreement conditions.

Assuming that the lender grants you the money, you will have to bear the additional costs included in the interest rates or other fees. The insecurity of doing business with you can actually cost you a lot. Clients with higher scores just pay less, which is the main reason why you should take care of your score in advance.

Yet another cause is the fact that not only your potential loan depends on the credit score. It will also have its impact in situations like renting a flat, buying a car, an auto insurance or even a cell phone. You may pay much more just because your credit score is too low. Hence, working on your score really pays off.

What credit score is good?

First of all, it depends on what you need the score for. For a simple credit card, a score of 650 may turn out to be enough. But if you aim at something bigger like a big loan and you want to get the lowest interest rates possible you need to have at least a 720 score. Apart from that, the ranges of number and scoring models are different so it is hard to give the overall answer.

There are a few different credit scores, why?

In fact, you do not have only one score. The credit scores can vary. The three credit bureaus could just use different information about you, because for example, one of them did not have your full credit history while the other had some more information. Moreover, scoring models used by bureaus can also vary which gives different results even if the information used in calculations was the same. Of course, the information about your current situation is being constantly updated and consequently, the score is changing on a regular basis.

Factors impacting your score

As it has been mentioned, scoring models in certain bureaus are different and may focus on various parts of your credit history. But in general, there are the most significant aspects influencing your score:

  • Utilization rate on your credit card – the lower the utilization rate, the better.
  • Payments done on time – focus strongly on this factor as its importance is huge. Remember to pay off any debts on time.
  • Record of your failures – previous bankruptcy, tax lien, civil judgments or foreclosure will definitely decrease your score.
  • The average time of your accounts being open – all your accounts are taken into consideration.
  • The number of your accounts – it is profitable for your credibility when you own a big number of accounts.
  • The frequency of hard credit inquiries – such an inquiry is made when you apply for a credit and an institution checks your credit report. Too many hard inquiries have a bad influence on your credit score.

The information concerning your personal life is not included, it is your financial management which is assessed in the whole process.

How you can improve your score?

Be punctual with your payments, keep the balances low and remember about hard inquiries so avoid applying for credit too fervidly.

Finally, monitor your situation. Check your free credit report (annualcreditreport.com) and vet it carefully. Dispute all errors  you find with major credit bureaus:

Monitor your score movements using services like:

Do not become obsessed with your credit score, but remain interested and involved – it will surely pay off soon.