In 1970, well-renowned economist Milton Friedman said: “the social responsibility of business is to increase profits.” While this statement was true at some point, a lot has changed in the business environment, and society expects more from businesses today.
What exactly is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
Corporate Social Responsibility is becoming more embraced across all industries as companies shift from profit-oriented to socially and environmentally conscious. According to Benevity, CSR encompasses how businesses are responsible corporate citizens to their shareholders, employees, customers, communities, and society.
This article will discuss how corporate social responsibility helps companies leave a positive footprint through reflective practices and initiatives. Let’s dive in!
Why is Corporate Social Responsibility Important?
The nature of CSR has evolved and is now more than simply giving to charity. It has become an integral part of how organisations run their business and focuses on consumers’ perceptions of the company’s positive influence on society and how it treats its employees.
The importance of CSR is especially apparent in today’s world, where consumers want to spend their money on products and brands that follow ethical practices or whose values and actions align with their beliefs. Again, the impact a company’s CSR initiatives have on the community greatly depends on the area in which the initiative focuses on. For example, a company may focus on making sustainability a core of its business practices, which would significantly impact the environment.
What Are the Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility?
Now more than ever, there is a growing importance for companies to ramp up their focus on social responsibility. Modern customers are invested in sustainable companies’ success because they believe those companies create a positive impact. The benefits of CSR speak volumes about how important it is and why businesses should try to adopt it.
- For Business
Social responsibility can strengthen both a company’s brand and image. By portraying a positive image and being socially conscious through CSR projects, a company can make a name for itself. Corporate social responsibility plays a crucial role in making your brand popular not only among your competitors but also in the media and, most importantly, with your direct customers.
Again, embracing CSR helps your company establish itself as committed to going one step further by considering social and environmental factors. People have a positive feeling toward a brand that empowers disadvantaged children and plants more trees for a greener environment. In other words, CSR allows organizations to work towards improving society and making it a better place to live.
- For Customers
We see more CSR in social media and marketing, and this is not by coincidence. In fact, according to the 2021 Porter Novelli Purpose Premium Index (PPI), “73% of consumers say [that] to win their support, companies must show how they are supporting communities and the environment.” As the above statistics show, consumers are increasingly aware of the importance of social responsibility and actively seek products from businesses that operate ethically.
Most importantly, CSR programs allow organisations to display their corporate values and reach customers with similar ideals.
- For Employees
Employees are more invested in companies that align with their morals and ethics and enjoy their work more when there’s a broader purpose. Moreover, today’s employees want to be part of something meaningful. Remember that when employees are active in the community, they act as brand ambassadors for the business. How employees feel about their company will be evident in their interactions with the general community. Your workplace will be a more positive and productive place to work, and by promoting things like volunteering, you encourage personal and professional growth.
- For Society
Embracing socially responsible policies goes a long way toward attracting and retaining customers, which is essential to a company’s long-term success. Businesses that implement a social responsibility initiative that is in line with their values have the opportunity to increase customer retention and loyalty. Social responsibility can help people see your company as a positive societal force.
Overall, such actions can benefit local communities by helping those in need. Such donations can help uplift underserved communities , and increase general well-being.
- For the Environment
There are several ways in which companies can be socially responsible. One common approach is focusing on environmental sustainability. This can involve reducing energy consumption, waste production, and more. Today there is a strong demand from consumers and investors for meaningful, comparative data on how organisations tackle issues such as climate change through CSR and environmental management.
Big companies like Meta and Apple have made long-term commitments to reducing pollution and having a net-zero footprint. Some businesses are taking it further and restructuring their shipments and deliveries altogether. To reduce space and cut costs, they pack their orders into eco-friendly compact containers like biodegradable pouches and recycled cardboard. Any initiative a company can take to reduce its footprint is considered good for the company and society.
However, each day is an opportunity to take another step toward saving the environment.
Examples of Corporate Social Responsibility in Action
Many companies are proving that successful corporate citizenship is achievable, and most are implementing innovative initiatives by making positive impacts. Depending on the cause, this can mean anything from corporate sponsorships and volunteer days to awareness campaigns.
Let’s look at three inspiring examples of corporate social responsibility in action.
- Nike’s Bloom Over Doom Campaign
Nike has big goals when it comes to sustainability. Their Move to Zero initiatives included pledges to transition to renewable energy, reduce carbon emissions, and divert manufacturing waste. To promote these initiatives, Nike launched the Bloom Over Doom campaign in August 2022.
- Bumble’s Anti-cyberflashing Campaign
Bumble set a new standard for corporate social responsibility initiatives by taking a stand on their user’s behalf. These efforts helped uphold their brand mission of supporting empowered connections in love by creating a safer digital environment for them to flourish.
Disney is consistently among the highest-ranked companies in their CSR activities. Its corporate social responsibility aims include environmental sustainability, investment in youth education, volunteering, and children’s hospitals and wish granting. One of the heartwarming examples of Disney’s CSR in action is the five-year global commitment of $100 million to help reimagine children’s stay in hospitals. The funds completely transform the patient and family stay at children’s hospitals around the world with the creation of personalised, distinctly “Disney” experiences featuring beloved Disney characters and stories.
The race to a more socially responsible marketplace is well on its way.
In today’s socially conscious environment, employees and customers place a premium on working for and spending their money on businesses that prioritise corporate social responsibility. Therefore, companies need to take an active role in the community beyond just making a profit. When done well, CSR can help companies build trust and loyalty among employees and customers, attract top talent, boost innovation and productivity, and reduce costs.