Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is thecontinuing commitment by business tobehave ethically and contribute toeconomic development while improvingthe quality of life of the workforce andtheir families as well as the localcommunity and society at large.
The use of design to addresssocial, environmental, economic and politicalissues may be termed ‘Socially ResponsibleDesign’(SRD).The idea of SRD has been behind positivemeasures to apply design thinking to issuessuch as sustainability and demographicchange.
Victor Papanek’s idea that designers andcreative professionals have a responsibility andare able to cause real change in the worldthrough good design.Papanek writes about responsible design.Designers can contribute to designing moreecological products by carefully selecting thematerials they use.Papanek also remarks on designing for peoplesneeds rather than their wants.
David Berman identified two types of ethics –personal and professional – and a designer hasto consider both.He noted that there is a minimum level ofethical behaviour set within a designorganisation or professional association thatreflects a common code of conduct.But in large part, ethical practice is a matter ofpersonal and professional choice.
GovernmentDesign can help to make the process ofnational, regional and local government moreresponsible or representative.This might involve helping to increaseefficiency, enabling more people to vote orfacilitating the participation of under-represented groups.
Economic PolicyDesign can contribute to national, regionaland local economic policy by promotingsustainability and responsibility.
Fair TradeDesign can provide support for workers rightsand reduce exploitation of pooreconomies, though interventions in relation tofinance, investment, manufacture and trade.This might involve establishing supplier sourcingcriteria or partnering in the supply chain.
EcologyDesign can help reduce pollution and minimiseenvironmental impact, as well as use greentechnologies.This might involve developing “green buildings”that improve air/water quality, encouragingbuilding reuse, introducing recycling or creatingenvironmentally-friendly packaging.
Social InclusionDesign can reduce discrimination on thebasis of gender, ethnicity, age, class,education, wealth, etc. and combat socialexclusion by understanding people’sparticular needs.
Health Design for health promotes better service deliveryand patient care, and develops methods ofimproving people’s health within society at large.This might involve improving the quality of medicalresource provision, developing devices that enablemedicines to be administered outside of thehealthcare system and helping produce equipmentthat prevents injury for vulnerable groups (e.g.cooker monitor for older people).
EducationDesign can improve the quality and efficiency ofdelivery.This might involve architects and interiordesigners designing schools to better facilitatelearning or design professions providing supportfor school projects.
CrimeDesign can be used to reduce the incidenceof crime, alleviate fear of crime andminimise the impact of crime.
“Ethics and social responsibility arecurrently high on the internationalagenda, with companies looking toaddress the issues and communicatetheir stance.”