The What And Why Of Corporate Social Responsibility

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Gone are the days where a business could solely focus on their bottom line, there are other aspects to business to take into consideration besides the money. How a business impacts the environment and society is now taken into consideration, it’s not just observed by its critics, but by a global audience. Corporate social responsibility is yet another buzzword in business, yet through the proper implementation, has numerous benefits.

What Is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Investopedia defines corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a self-regulating business model that helps a company be socially accountable to itself, its stakeholders, and the public. CSR is essentially, an idea that businesses should operate in a socially responsible way, or in a manner that benefits the public.

Why Is CSR Important?

The biggest impact of CSR is to the environment, it’s also the most in-your-face benefit as the goal of CSR plans is plainly stated by companies. There are, however, benefits that come with CSR that impact the brand. Most notably would be the improved perception of your brand, an increase in customer engagements, and the ability to attract and retain employees.

Improved Brand Perception

Having a positive image in the eyes of the public is critical in today’s society. With the ease of access to information, it is easier than ever for people to do a quick search of your company and figure out whether or not your company fits the description of someone they’d like to do business with. As a company, promoting and implementing environmentally-friendly policies or charitable programs gives your brand name a significant boost that would help you create a following for your cause. Having a positive image helps draw in customers, with the added benefit of increasing engagements with your audience.

Increase In Meaningful Engagements

Many corporate social responsibility projects impact the community immediately around them. Whether it’s a company limiting its carbon footprint, starting outreach programs, or supporting social justice initiatives, CSR projects draw attention. In most cases, your audience or anyone who’s taken an interest in your outreach program will message you on social media. Meaningful feedback can be found there and public back and forth can begin, with the potential to draw in other comments from your audience. In some cases, the public can join in on initiatives as volunteers and more direct engagements can happen with your intended audience. By putting yourself out there as a positive change in the world, people are bound to communicate with you, whether it’s to say good job or to try and suggest ideas.

Attract And Retain Employees

In a similar fashion to how you’d attract meaningful engagements, your company will also attract like-minded people who wish to be a part of your initiatives with the community, even if that isn’t the center of your business model. The Millenial and Z generations are looking for employers who want to impact the environment in a positive manner, with goals they can rally behind. Being able to work for a company they can morally support is becoming a bigger factor in the decision-making process of the newer generation of employees, companies that hire employees that share their goals end up keeping a higher percentage of their employees when compared to companies that hire purely based on technical skill. 

Examples Of Real World CSR Programs

To give you an idea of possible CSR solutions your company can apply, take a look at what some of the biggest companies on the planet are doing. Apple’s goal was to have a smaller carbon footprint throughout all of the stages of production. They chose to use recycled materials in some of their products, make their suppliers undergo 3rd party audits, and have started a conservation fund to help reforestation. They also stopped providing charging blocks with their phones as a way to cut back on the amount of plastic being used. With a different approach to CSR, Netflix and Spotify chose to instead invest in their employees. Netflix offers 52 weeks of paid parental leaves while Spotify gives half of that. This single change has increased the number of applicants both companies received and these numbers continue to increase with no signs of slowing down. Another common way both of these companies help society is through their influence on social media. They both help bring awareness to social issues and raise funds for non-profit organizations that help bring change.

The Wrap Up

Corporate social responsibility is the idea that businesses should operate in a socially responsible way to benefit society as a whole. While nothing is stopping companies from ignoring this, as there is no mandate to enforce the idea, the sheer number of benefits that come out of operating responsibly are enough to encourage businesses of all sizes to follow suit. Take a look at big-name companies that are doing their part and see what your business can contribute today, who knows, you could be the next hot topic on social media.

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