A new year, a new decade … In 2020, many consumers are focused on reaching personal, health, and professional goals. While working toward their own responsibilities to be better, more and more consumers are aligning themselves with companies or brands that prioritize corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Business Dictionary defines CSR as a company’s sense of responsibility toward the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates.
A study by Cone Communications found that 87% of Americans will purchase from a company because it advocated for an issue they care about, while 76% will refuse to buy a company’s products or services if they learn the company supported an issue contrary to their beliefs.
Many consumers are looking to businesses to make the changes needed in today’s climate, and they’re using their dollars to support those who make CSR a priority.
As your business does some first-of-the-year reflecting, it’s important to ensure that your brand model reflects issues important to you and your audience. Company goals must consider more than economic metrics, they must also benefit stakeholders and the public.
5 Ways To a Better Corporate Social Responsibility Mission
- Volunteer – Companies are seeing a benefit in offering volunteer days to their employees. This not only builds camaraderie within the company, it also spreads your company’s visibility among the supporters of the charity. TransUnion, for example, provides employees with a Volunteer Time Off day each year and matches donations up to $2,000 each for a cause close to their associates.
- Invest in Social and Environmental Initiatives – Companies can support local and national organizations by donating directly or holding events in honor of the cause. You can also use your voice to help educate your audience on the issue and ways they can help. Sachs Media Group encourages employees to make a difference by donating a portion of their paycheck to the United Way of the Big Bend to address challenges in education, income, and health within the community.
- Practice Ethical Labor – The job market is ever-changing, and potential job applicants and current employees are looking for companies that practice what they preach in and out of the office. To ensure that you attract the best talent and maintain high morale, find opportunities to improve brand confidence. Offer competitive perks, provide a comfortable workspace, and look for ways to engage employees. Netflix provides its employees with 52 weeks of paid parental leave, and team members are able to take advantage of this perk at any point during their new child’s life.
- Promote Philanthropy – Create your own method of change by establishing an in-house mission. Encourage a social responsibility team to lead ways your company can give back to the community. Patagonia works in multiple ways to inspire team members to give back, while also partnering with other companies to make economic and environmental change with brands like bluesign, The Conservation Alliance, and 1% for the Planet, to name a few.
- Be Environmentally Conscious – Consumers are increasingly looking for ways to lessen their environmental impact — in many cases, by supporting brands and businesses that are doing the same. With 30+ years of working to reduce its environmental impact on the planet, global brand Johnson & Johnson looks to produce 35% of its energy from renewable sources through the purchase of private energy suppliers and other initiatives.
Businesses can make seamless changes within their structures to reduce their carbon footprint. Ways to make a difference include:
- Increasing recycling
- Decreasing energy and water use
- Enhancing waste management practices by going paperless, composting, eliminating bottled water, reducing plastic, etc.
- Embracing eco-friendly travel policies – fly nonstop to reduce emissions, take public transportation, carpool, offer benefits for hybrid cars and green hotels, etc.