It was during my college years that I realized there should more to business than just business. Of course, making a profit is the main goal of every company, but this comes with some responsibilities to stakeholders. I wrote my Master’s dissertation at the Institut Paul Bocuse about CSR in hospitality and the competitive advantage it can give to companies.
The hospitality industry is a one-of-a-kind industry that connects with many other industries on a daily basis. It is present around the world, in every remote location. This is why CSR in even more important in this sector. The name changes over the years – Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Social Opportunity, we can talk about Sustainability – but at the end of the day, it’s about the actions we take to make the world a better place. And there is no better time to start than TODAY!
There’s a fine line between philanthropy and CSR. People’s tendency is to give money rather than time. For me, it’s important to empower people, to teach them how they can make their own lives better if they want to. It’s not about handing out money and creating an environment of dependency. And it’s not about forcing your ideas and standards on people either.
When I was working on a project in Bora Bora, one of my colleagues, a waitress in the hotel, wanted to move to front of house. I taught her how to use a computer in my spare time and she got that promotion. That’s at the essence of CSR, giving people the skills and the resources they need to live their lives to the fullest.
Wherever I have worked, be it abroad or in my native Poland, I have put CSR at the heart of what I do. It’s not always easy. The owners have to buy into the idea. Some do, some more than others. Whether it was baking cakes and pastries for local homeless shelters or teaching underprivileged kids as part of the Youth Career Initiative, I quickly realised the importance of never losing sight of the bigger picture.
Sometime people want to make the world a better place, but simply don’t know where to start. That is why I have decided to change that, to help people get inspired by others, share what they have done, and be part of a community who cares.