The notion of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an increasing phenomenon that holds great potential for changing the world. By simultaneously bolstering profits and improving environmental responsibility the world over, it can both contribute to a growing economy while drastically reducing global emissions—and although some things may sound ‘too good to be true’—corporate social responsibility, or ‘corporate citizenship,’ is not.
In the past, it was difficult to truly assess whether or not CSR did, in fact, increase profits. However, a recent study has been released that illustrates a positive correlation between increases in CSR initiatives and revenue generated by businesses.
“Corporate Social Responsibility and Financial Performance: A Meta-Analysis” is a report encompassing and analyzing data from 52 previous studies on CSR. It found that “corporate virtue in the form of social responsibility and, to a less extent, environmental responsibility, is likely to pay off.” Now, all this report really does is validate what we already know—that driving trust in an organization and building faith in a brand will yield returns. The tricky part is finding out how to properly practice corporate social responsibility in a way that is practical and in line with business objectives.
Below are several methods that may interest businesses interested in being more socially sustainable.
Make Sustainable Purchases
With concerns about global warming on the rise, more and more people are asking for corporations to be held accountable for the impact that they make on the environment. Businesses should figure out their carbon footprint and get a sense of where they can improve. Purchasing decisions should be good for the environment and encourage sustainability, which often cuts down on resource consumption and reduces waste and energy expenses. Consumers will often put faith in brands that they believe are environmentally responsible.
Transparency is a strategy buzzword that is often casually tossed around, but it is nevertheless a great way to build relationships with customers, stakeholders, and employees. More and more businesses are choosing to publicly disclose the salaries of all members of the company, a practice that encourages fairness and offers an explanation for why certain members of the team may make more than others.
One company adopting salary transparency is Buffer, a social media company with a formula for calculating salary that hinges on the position, seniority, and employee experience. This approach has been praised for its honesty and has given the company ample attention in media.
Of course, this isn’t the only way a company can be transparent. Disclosing emissions and waste information can be critical to holding a company responsible for its environmental impact, and set corporations on a path to cleaner practices. Similarly, supply chain transparency helps boost faith in a company by ensuring that their distributors and suppliers are held to the same standards that they are.
Whatever form transparency takes, it is a great way to build a dialogue between companies and stakeholders, bolstering good faith and branding.
Most companies have official values that they operate by, and community work, whether through volunteering or philanthropy, is one of the best ways to reinforce those principles. This is the “social” in “social responsibility,” giving corporations an identity through outreach programs.
Businesses can do this by cultivating a long-lasting relationship with surrounding communities and by implementing initiatives that build positive relationships with residents. As with other CSR programs, this can contribute to building a positive reputation and publicity for a business.