Corporate social responsibility, or commonly known by the acronym CSR, refers to the practices and policies undertaken by companies that are intended to have a positive influence on the world. They include philanthropy, activism, and charity by engaging in or supporting volunteering or practices for social good.
We are all more familiar with the CSR initiatives of the big corporations but medium and small companies are also starting to engage more in this kind of activism, making maybe not a global impact but their communities a better place.
CSR plays a huge role in painting the brand’s image, and customers nowadays engage more with socially responsible companies. At the same time, a lot of executives are deciding to engage socially by giving back to the community and using their role in raising awareness and social good.
There are some companies, and there will always be this kind of internal-policies, that only see CSR as a way of getting good PR for making a higher profit. This puts a shade on the good purpose of the activism, but if they do good they pay the debt to society, no matter how shallow the purpose.
Here are some interesting statistics from well-regarded reports including the key themes of CSR. They show us more about how both millennials, that are the current highest working generation, and executives think.
1. Companies with a clearly defined sense of purpose are up to 50% more likely to successfully expand into a new market.
2. 50% of millennials say they would take a pay cut to find work that matches their values.
3. More than half of millennials would defend a purpose-driven company if people spoke badly of it.
4. Employees who have a chance to give to charities through their work are happier than those who do not.
5. Disaster relief accounted for just 3% of overall corporate giving in 2018, with the vast majority of gifts directed to immediate disaster relief, as opposed to risk reduction.
6. 76% of respondents believe CEOs should take the lead on change rather than waiting for the government to require it.
7. More companies than ever before are linking their brand with a social impact initiative, partially in response to COVID-19 and consumer pressures to play an integral role in recovery.
8. 83% of executives believe skills-based volunteerism could help employees satisfy their desire for purpose and hone their teamwork and leadership abilities.
There are four main types of Corporate Social Responsibility, philanthropy, environment conservation, diversity and labor practices, and volunteerism.
Philanthropy is promoting the welfare of others most often by donating big amounts of money to a cause.
The best example of this is Microsoft, which works closely with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to bring technology closer to people from around the world.
However, if you are a small business it is a way better approach for you to directly contact an organization from your community that you have in mind and ask them what kind of contribution is most needed.
Environment Conservation is one of the currently most popular topics. It covers the causes of global warming to air pollution and reducing the overall carbon footprint.
All the companies from the developed countries that are involved in production are starting to work on the internal issue of becoming “greener”.
Even for mid-sized companies, any opportunity to start recycling and change the packaging is a great start and an excellent way to engage in CSR.
Company Diversity and Labor Practices are getting more exposure in the last decade and it works wonders for everyone! A lot of executives are starting to notice that diversity in the workplace is beneficial for the team. This not only helps the brand image, but also the culture in the company itself!
For this matter, Starbucks, which is very popular in the global CSR circles, has implemented a refugee hiring program.
Volunteering is being implemented from the smallest to the biggest companies. As a form of CSR, it is easy to implement and by doing it employees get in real-life contact with certain groups of the society. This afterward results in more people getting back to help, donate, and raise awareness by being exposed to the face of the problem.
The Social Friday Activity can be implemented in all company sizes. The very core of this initiative is to use the unproductive time in the office on Friday afternoons for social good.
It started in 2017, and by now it has already been implemented in six countries.
The great thing about this initiative is that the mechanisms are already in place, and all you have to do is come out with your network plan. Just choose the organizations you would like to help out, pick four dates throughout the year one in each quarter, and make it a team-building for your company!