Corporate social responsibility, also referred to as “CSR,” is the behavior and actions of a company that positively impact its environmental and social surroundings. Today, if your company isn’t practicing corporate social responsibility, it’s well behind those that have already started. Some companies have a department dedicated to fulfilling the CSR needs, planning all initiatives, and following through. There are numerous ways to tackle CSR, and depending on your company’s resources and abilities, it’s beneficial for your company to implement all of these pillars.
Volunteering Time and/or Expertise
Volunteering is a popular choice for companies looking for ways to be socially responsible. Whether it’s volunteering to clean up a park or to work at a soup kitchen, it’s time well spent. Some companies choose volunteer activities that match the company’s message and values, while others simply choose volunteer activities that they’re passionate about. Companies that have departments dedicated to CSR might have established programs for matching employees with volunteer opportunities. Some employees prefer to volunteer their expertise. If you’re in the banking industry, you might want to volunteer to teach students more about finance.
Philanthropy is a common choice for companies that may be too busy to schedule in frequent volunteering or those who have the ability to donate large amounts. Most companies donate money to organizations of their choice, while other companies choose to donate needed merchandise. Donating specific merchandise can be just as beneficial, especially if it’s going to people who truly need it. When it comes to money donations, there are companies that take part in matching gifts. This means that the company matches an employee’s donation to an organization of their choice. Most programs like this have limits, but you might be surprised at how much companies are willing to spend.
Cause Promotion and Cause-Related Marketing
Cause promotion and cause-related marketing both fall under CSR, but they have slight differences.
Cause promotions are specifically for increasing awareness about a certain cause, without the goal of sales in mind. A company uses its own resources for this. Whether it’s spreading the word through social media, including information about the cause in brochures, or making the cause visible to everyone that comes to your storefront or building, you’re not only educating your customers about an important cause, you’re displaying your values as a company.
Cause-related marketing is done with social responsibility in mind, but it does correlate with sales. An example of this is offering a product in which a percentage of the sale goes to a certain charity. Another example is buying a product to give a product. When a specific product is purchased, a company will give that same product to someone in need.
Your place of work definitely factors into CSR. Most likely, every workplace can be doing something differently to be more socially responsible. Examples include having an employee collection of donations, promoting recycling, turning the office lights off before heading out to lunch or a meeting, using both sides of the printing paper, and more. Small changes can make all the difference. Along with these actions, the treatment of employees falls into workplace behavior as well. Treating employees both well and equally is obviously the socially responsible route.
Company or Industry Related
Being socially responsible also means looking into the impact your company or industry is making and then taking action to fix the negatives. You might need to set aside time to look into different aspects, but it’s worth it to be socially responsible.
One example is reducing packaging. If during your analysis you realize your company is using too much packaging, look for a way to reduce it instead of continuing to waste materials. Another way to go about this is to research the trends of the industry. Look into what other companies of the industry are doing to be socially responsible. Maybe they’re doing something that you could be doing.
These are all beneficial ways to practice CSR. Not only are they environmentally and socially beneficial, they can boost morale and profits. While taking part in CSR, it’s important to keep track of all initiatives and the impact each one has. Figure out what works for your company and what doesn’t. It may take some trial and error, but your company will find its place in the world of CSR if it hasn’t already.
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