We all know businesses are supposed to help the environment, give back to the community and be all-around good citizens—but how? And why? Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a tricky topic for most executives, especially for those in a small business or startup. What should your company do to enhance its image?
You’re in luck because we’ve got some CSR information just for the entrepreneur, small business owner or CEO! So read up and start giving back and going green!
What is CSR?
Corporate Social Responsibility can be defined in a variety of ways, but most agree it’s more than just volunteering or philanthropy. CSR is about going above and beyond the “minimum requirements”. It’s more about considering all of the stakeholders (anyone impacted by business decisions) in day-to-day business activities. Many companies that engage in CSR are actively introducing products that are safe and reliable for the consumer and are implementing fair policies for its employees. Does it seem like a lot to handle? We can help!
Why is CSR important?
Companies that have been around the longest are the ones that have been engaged in CSR. Think about General Electric and IBM. GE has introduced ecomagination, an environmentally friendly initiative, and IBM has substantially decreased its energy use (and saved money while doing it). According to Burson-Marsteller, 55% of people are more likely to choose a product that supports a cause when choosing between similar products. And 70% of people are willing to pay a premium for these products from socially responsible companies. CSR can save you money while building up your image and clientele.
How do you Implement CSR?
Corporate culture starts at the top. A culture of social responsibility is necessary for any competitive company in today’s society. In a recent study done by the Journal of International Business Studies, two different aspects were identified in executives’ decision-making. You can either stress economic factors—profit, cost control and market share—or you can stress constituents—employees, environmentalists and the community. The research found that when executives stressed the constituent groups, they were considered to be inspirational. This caused employees to exert extra effort and resulted in better performance. So, be passionate and chances are, people will listen to you.
Corporate Social Responsibility is huge factor in consumer perception. Establish trust within your employees and customers and you’ll be one step closer to a socially responsible company. It can be as easy as looking out for your employees, or implementing a green office initiative. Every small step matters!