3 Ways to Incorporate Corporate Social Responsibility into Your Business
When it comes to a socially responsible brand image, businesses no longer just sell a product; they sell a personality that reflects their target customer’s values, morals, and ethics. One easy way to foster a positive brand reputation is through corporate social responsibility (CSR). Having CSR implemented into your business plan is a powerful tool that promotes philanthropy and shows that your business has morally responsible ethics. While it may seem that only large companies have the funds and resources to incorporate CSR into their business, in reality, CSR is known for inspiring all sizes of customers and employees to be better members of a team and society as a whole.
CSR can begin in ways as little as recycling plastic items in the office, or as versatile as team volunteering, donating funds to charities, or only doing business with companies that follow ethical regulations. Although, the larger the company, the larger the expectations. If Apple Inc. started using recycled packaging, they wouldn’t get as much of a pat on the back as a local family-owned restaurant. The key to Corporate Social Responsibility is to pace yourself based on your company’s size and see where it takes your business.
1. Establish Responsibilities and Ethics in Company Culture
Integrating social responsibility into your business’s culture is a surefire way to get people looking at your quality with great expectations. Having a business that prides itself on philanthropy will increase positive brand reputation and brand recognition. Displaying company values is a reliable way to nail down sales from those who prefer purchasing from trustworthy companies. Another bonus of implementing CSR into a company’s culture is that it will attract top talent. CSR incorporates into a business’s culture in ways such as:
- furthering employee education,
- maintaining high moral values throughout company hierarchies, and
- training employees about ethical labor.
Ice cream industry legend Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc. is an excellent example of a company that has consistently advocated social responsibility. They do much more than squash a late-night craving for some Chunky Monkey or Half-Baked ice cream! While these flavors are delicious, they are not the only reason consumers consistently choose Ben and Jerry’s. Many consumers choose their brand because of its honest, sustainable, and innovative perspective on social justice, and —oh yeah— the brand just happens to sell ice cream.
2. Give Back
Philanthropy is a fun and rewarding way for different company departments to feel like a team. Employee-centric charity not only increases retention and company loyalty but shows consumers that you care about social causes. According to Business Wire, 70% of customers are interested in knowing what businesses do for social issues, and 46% pay very close attention before buying. That means almost half of consumers keep a close eye on the companies where they spend money.
Consumers increasingly want to know which types of philanthropic efforts businesses support. “Giving back” can take on many meanings, like building houses with Habitat for Humanity or spending some time at a local children’s hospital. There are numerous opportunities for employees to enjoy themselves together, which encourages teamwork within a professional environment. CSR holds positive reinforcement with customers and employees because people experience fulfillment when they know they are doing good for their company and community.
3. Be Environmentally Friendly
With fears of global warming, it is now more important than ever to implement environmentally-cautious CSR within your business. One way to display that your company is socially responsible is to track its environmental impacts and display those statistics where customers can easily access the information. Customers would rather purchase from companies when they know they’re not contributing to wasteful and careless business practices. A new trend in environmental friendliness is striving to be net-zero by planting trees for emitted greenhouse gasses, donating to environmental agencies, and using less fuel and energy overall.
Fast fashion is a prime example of an industry that is careless about being environmentally friendly. Fast fashion uses cheap material and labor to create trendy, inexpensive clothes for consumers. While the industry was once booming, consumers soon realized the environmental and social implications of these cheaply-made clothing items, and prominent brand names started going out of style. Making smart decisions for the planet and your company is much more easily accessible than in the past. Championing environmental responsibility is a small and simple place to start incorporating CSR into a business.
Corporate Social Responsibility is a great way to gain brand recognition, contribute to the world, and hold businesses accountable for providing a healthy, enjoyable workplace for employees. In a nutshell, social responsibility shows that your business cares. People want to buy from companies that are trustworthy and take accountability for their impact on society. With CSR, customers, employees, and business owners feel they contribute to the greater good by being involved with the company. Starting with appropriately sized gestures is key to begin incorporating CSR into your business.