Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility – in the world of business these three words are the newest buzz. It is likely that you’ve heard of them, but are you aware of what this term truly means? Could you speak about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with confidence? After reading this article, you will not only understand the meaning of CSR but also the current best companies practicing CSR.
Corporate Social Responsibility refers to a business practice that involves participating in initiatives that benefit the society and surrounding community. Other than the satisfaction of doing something good for others, there are plenty of practical and smart reasons for your business to get involved with philanthropy.
As consumers’ awareness about global and local social issues continues to grow, so does the importance these folks place on CSR when choosing where to invest their time and money. Many studies have been done which prove that consumers will choose one brand or company over another solely based upon which company contributes to a social cause. Getting involved in initiatives that benefit the society or local community shows your clients or consumers just how impactful you can be. It proves drive and strength of character, not just for you, but also for your business and brand. Furthermore, by incorporating these values and beliefs into your services you will in turn help strengthen your brand. A solid brand, built with a strong set of beliefs and values, attracts clients and consumers.
Until not long ago, good CSR practices were confined to larger-sized employers with strong PR teams. You may have heard of such practices at business organizations such as Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Starbucks, and TOMS. But now, even the smallest companies are finding ways to be accountable to their communities both socially and environmentally. For a company of any size, a great way to get your feet wet in the CSR space is to set aside or identify days for volunteer work, or offer paid time off to staff members who want to pursue philanthropic activities. If businesses adapt the mentality of “corporate karma,” their employees will act and operate in the same fashion. Companies that practice CSR as part of their business model prove that no matter how large or small the contribution is, any act of corporate philanthropy goes a long way, both for the cause and for the company.
If you’re looking for examples of U.S. companies that have the strongest Corporate Social Responsibility, look no further…CR Magazine has recently released the 2014 100 Best Corporate Citizens. To give you a snapshot of some of the very top companies on the list here are seven companies whom you’re likely familiar with: Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft Corporation, Gap, Inc., Mattel, Inc., Intel, Corp., Coca-Cola Co., Walt Disney Co. As for Long Island specifically, Arrow Electronics is well known for their CSR efforts and has been honored for their business and community contributions.
So what will you do? How will you and your company get involved in Corporate Social Responsibility? If it feels overwhelming, my advice is to start small – think locally. Reach out to those in your surrounding community and see where you and your colleagues/employees can donate your time. Take a second look at your business model to see if corporate karma plays a role. If it doesn’t, brainstorm places where you can incorporate corporate responsibility. Not only will you feel good by doing this, but remember that your business will also benefit. There couldn’t be more of a win, win situation.