Why Corporate Social Responsibility Matters
Corporate social responsibility in branding, promoting good, and increasing profits
Being socially responsible doesn’t just make your company look and feel good, it also makes good business sense. Policies that help make the world a better place have the potential to boost company revenues, increase customer satisfaction and cut staff. But how?
More than half of consumers say they’re willing to pay more for products and services from companies that are committed to having a positive social and environmental impact. That’s especially true for millennials – the 75 million strong generation. Of those willing to pay extra for sustainable products, 51% were millennials. So is your company ready to embrace social responsibility and take advantage of the opportunity? If so, here’s how to get started.
First, make social responsibility part of your company’s DNA, making choices that help the environment, employees and communities. In 2010, consumer goods giant Unilever announced its Sustainable Living Plan – committing to having the environmental footprint of its products by 2020. The results have been striking: its sustainable living brands grew at twice the rate as the rest of the company, and Unilever’s employee engagement and reputation have risen since it started its Sustainable Living Plan. Conversely, companies that act irresponsibly could pay a price with a tarnished reputation, fines, and litigation, and even boycotts and lost sales.
The next step is to focus on causes that align with your business. Coffee giant Starbucks pledge to source beans grown ethically and sustainably, and buy from suppliers that provide safe, humane work conditions. It’s important to remember that your social efforts should complement the company’s primary business mission.
Another essential step is to engage your employees in the effort. Companies with social responsibility programs often attract highly-qualified young candidates and have lower turnover. That’s because millennials are considered the most socially-engaged generation since the 1960s; they want to work with purpose.
Finally, get the word out. If you use organic ingredients in your product, your customers need to know about it. Use your commitment to corporate social responsibility for recruitment efforts. Given the choice, most consumers want to buy from companies that engage with the outside world.
Committing to do good and following through on that promise could be one of the smartest business investments you can make.