Reasons to consider Corporate Social Responsibility
More people were looking to work for and buy from businesses of all sizes that demonstrated a commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as we came into 2020. From the local café, artisan food producers and local professional services, to household brands and multinationals.
Research has shown that close to two thirds of consumers now expect companies to make a stand on climate and environmental issues.
And with all that has happened this year, the continued momentum behind the green movement to anti-racism protests, and a global pandemic that has encouraged a greater sense of community and a talented unemployed workforce seeking new opportunities, is it time business leaders take CSR more seriously?
As well as the benefits to the problem CSR seeks to solve, there are also business reasons for embracing it as part of your future whether a start-up, SME or mature company.
Innovation – Integrating CSR calls for a business to review its practices, products, and services, often a long overdue exercise or something that can be integrated into a new business plan. This should encourage innovation across the business, and how everything from people, customer service, product and/or service, and your partners are approached.
Cost savings – CSR considerations will often lead to long-term cost and resource savings. For instance, sustainability and environmental benefits will result in less energy usage and wastage, whilst people-led initiatives will mean a more committed workforce and reduced staff turnover and recruitment fees.
Brand differentiation – CSR can drive greater loyalty. When it is focused on more specific causes, including localised ones, businesses will find greater opportunities to differentiate from competitors, where products and services rarely do anymore. There is already a growing movement for CSR-driven independent start-up businesses disrupting the status-quo by giving consumers an alternative.
Long-term thinking – CSR provides a long-term interest that helps to guide a business and keep everyone focused on the vision. A thread with its own goals that will help with long-term planning and act as a counterbalance to the short-term focus on financial results. This provides start-ups and growing businesses another measure of progress to demonstrate the business is heading in the right direction.
Customer and employee engagement – CSR will provide businesses with a topic to engage people in a different way. The message tends to be on ‘something good’ and ‘more meaningful’ rather than on sales. Through planned initiatives businesses will also be able to invite people to actively partake and get involved, from fund raising and community fetes to sharing stories and user generated content.