Corporate social responsibility is a business approach that contributes to sustainable development by delivering economic, social and environmental benefits to society and business. One example of corporate social responsibility is how grocery stores are helping to reduce food waste, while passing on the savings to consumers by selling imperfect produce at discounted prices. It’s a win for consumers and also grocery stores, that reported a significant increase in sales and brand awareness.
Many factors play into why corporations are increasingly adopting corporate social responsibility.
Customer Interest – According to a recent survey by Environics International, more than one in five consumers reported having rewarded or punished companies based on a company’s social performance. Many consumers will pay more for products and services from companies who demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility.
Competitive Labor Markets – Job seekers look beyond paychecks and benefits. They seek out employers who value and practice social responsibility. In recent years, many top job candidates have accepted lower salaries to work for companies that demonstrate their values.
Investor Pressure – Individual investors weigh a company’s ethics, activism, community involvement, and commitment to improving the well being of their employees and their communities. Holtz Communication reported that major investment firms are creating funds that are growing exponentially because they look beyond growth potential and consider corporate policies, business activities and social responsibility that are in keeping with their own values.
Supplier Relations – Some companies are introducing codes of conduct for their suppliers, to hold them accountable for their policies and practices.
Creating a Culture of Social Responsibility
Companies that look beyond the bottom line and support corporate values will positively affect the way they conduct business and will contribute to the wellbeing of their employees and the community. Smart partnering can result in significant benefits to businesses by moving away from risk avoidance and enhancing reputation, to improving the business’s core values. For society, it shifts focus from the short term to a long-term goal of improving the overall quality of life and living standards. Creating synergy between the community and corporations, can tap into their resources and expertise to create sustainable solutions to social and business challenges.
First Steps to Adopting Corporate Social Responsibility
- Manage time and resources to concentrate on areas where business significantly interacts with society. Recognize the areas where there is potential for mutual benefits.
- Form a connection between your business and your partner in the community respecting and addressing issues that may arise for both.
- Form a realistic understanding of your company’s and the community’s strengths and build on those.
Keep in mind two principles to success:
- Make it a long-term commitment
- Engage the entire workforce and lead by example
When choosing the approach that is right for your company and the community, be sure that your program is fully integrated with your business’s core mission for long-term growth.