Difference between corporate responsibility, social value, and social impact


Brands and businesses usually aim towards profit-maximizing, which is expected and deemed to be the normal role of traditional corporates and profitable institutions. However, there is an additional component that contributes to philanthropy and the greater good of society when they step in to make a positive change in the community.

Brands have been welcoming such change, especially because customer’s expectations have been viewing brands as active players in the game of social impact and when adding value to improve the quality of people’s lives, besides, they are deeming the efforts of government and non-profit institutions as not enough and waiting for brands to participate and make something themselves towards the welfare of their fellow citizens.

And due to such movement, it has been observed that words such as corporate social responsibility, social value, and social impact started to gain traction, yet remain unclear to some people, as the words are being used interchangeably.

This article is an attempt to dispel some of the ambiguity revolving around such terms, and to clarify the use of each jargon, to be able to understand them and anticipate what exactly to anticipate when seeing such words.

Corporate responsibility


It’s when businesses do good with the goal of improving the community yet also improving the reputation of the company. It’s trying to strike a balance between people, business, and the planet as priorities, and comes usually in the form of social initiatives, where it aims to increase profitability and decrease taxes while trying to appeal to more stakeholders and investors. Corporate responsibility activities might include philanthropy, volunteering, and more forms, where they contribute to the greater good of the community.

Social value

This is more engrained at the operations and the very purpose of the company, where it holds itself accountable for giving back to the community. This is more inclusive for the company activities and operations and is a broader engagement and commitment to effecting a positive change, and it could include a wider range of efforts such as building partnerships with non-profit institutions, being continually responding to a specific cause that is tied to the company’s purpose, and dedicating a portion of profits to help mobilize a certain cause while maintaining a constant level of enthusiasm and commitment to a long term improvement in the society.

Social impact

It’s usually a measurable outcome that might be the result of certain actions or decisions of a company, that aims to improve the quality of people’s lives, be that action an initiative from its corporate social responsibility, or be it embedded in the fabric of the company’s ongoing mission to effect a constant change. For example, it could be the number of lives touched or the amount of money raised for a worthy cause.




This has been a trendy term in recent years, and it’s closely tied with a social value that yields social impact, where the company makes sure its operations run in a way that cares about a longer life for both its customers, businesses, and the planet, the longer the duration it aims at, the more sustainable the business is, and the greater the good the business is effecting, as it tries to minimize the negative effect and maximize the positive footprint.

How could that benefit businesses? A lot. Engaging in CSR, social value activities, or yielding social impact can do amazing things for businesses who go above and beyond to improve the lives of their fellow citizens, as it might translate to improved company’s reputation and holding a more competitive edge, and getting ahead in the brand race.

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