SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IS THE IDEA THAT BUSINESSES SHOULD BALANCE PROFIT-MAKING ACTIVITIES WITH ACTIVITIES THAT BENEFIT SOCIETY. IT INVOLVES DEVELOPING BUSINESSES WITH A POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP TO THE SOCIETY IN WHICH THEY OPERATE. INVESTOPEDIA
VALUES ARE CHANGING
In today’s marketplace, there is a large shift in the criteria that your consumers find important when deciding where to spend their dollars.
When choosing a brand, consumers are starting to prioritize supporting a brand that embodies corporate social responsibility (CSR.) When choosing where to spend their dollars CSR is more important to many consumers, even taking precedence over quality goods and services. This swing in behavior is so significant that many will actually turn their back on a brand they were loyal to if they believe that brand is not taking a stand for environmental and social issues.
“Corporate responsibility is simply a way for companies to take responsibility for the social and environmental impacts of their business operations,” said Jen Boynton, vice president of member engagement at 3BL Media. “A robust CSR program is an opportunity for companies to demonstrate their good corporate citizenship … and protect the company from outsized risk by looking at the whole social and environmental sphere that surrounds the company.”
A study last year by Cone Communication include the following Key Findings:
63% of Americans are hopeful businesses will take the lead to drive social and environmental change moving forward, in the absence of government regulation
78% want companies to address important social justice issues
87% will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about and 76% will refuse to purchase a company’s products or services upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs
CSR creates a filter for the actions of a company that keeps organizations accountable and ethical, But consumers aren’t the only ones who are drawn to businesses that give back. Susan Cooney, head of global diversity, equity and inclusion at Symantec, said that a company’s CSR strategy is a big factor in where today’s top talent chooses to work.
“The next generation of employees is seeking out employers that are focused on the triple bottom line: people, planet and revenue,” said Cooney. “Coming out of the recession, corporate revenue has been getting stronger. Companies are encouraged to put that increased profit into programs that give back.”
WAYS TO PRACTICE CSR
Once you recognize how important social responsibility is to your customers, there are many broad categories that you can practice
1. Environmental efforts: One primary focus of corporate social responsibility is the environment. Businesses regardless of size have a large carbon footprint. Any steps they can take to reduce those footprints are considered both good for the company and society.
2. Philanthropy: Businesses can also practice social responsibility by donating money, products or services to social causes. Larger companies tend to have a lot of resources that can benefit charities and local community programs.Smaller businesses can create out of the box ideas to give back by volunteering time, product or services.
3. Ethical labor practices: By treating employees fairly and ethically, companies can also demonstrate their corporate social responsibility.
4. Volunteering: Attending volunteer events says a lot about a company’s sincerity. By doing good deeds without expecting anything in return, companies can express their concern for specific issues and support for certain organizations.
5. Community Impact: Giving back to your community. Attending local events says a lot about your desire to be involved. It establishes loyalty for your business. By participating with your local schools, youth sports, senior living etc. companies can support the life and heart of a community
THE BENEFITS OF BUILDING A SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS
Undertaking socially responsible initiatives is truly a win-win situation. Not only will your company appeal to socially conscious consumers and employees, but you’ll also make a real difference in the world. One of the key factors is being transparent and honest about what steps you have decided to take. You will need to earn your consumers trust.
Involve your employees and your community. Find out what is important to them. Make the decisions on your actions as a team to create buy-in and engagement. Give people a voice
Don’t keep what you do a secret. Let your customers know. Consumers enjoy sharing in the good you are doing. It becomes a win- win-win for your business, the consumer and the planet.