Corporate social responsibility, commonly referred to as CSR, has been a growing trend over the past decade. Perhaps surprisingly, those most interested in corporate citizenship aren’t the small, socially-minded startups selling eco-conscious wares — but medium to large companies, including giants like Google to Wells Fargo. So what is corporate social responsibility, exactly? Why are companies increasingly interested in it, and how does it benefit them and the community?
Definition of Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibilty (CSR) is a business approach that focuses on positive economic, social, and environmental actions not just for the company, but for the community as well. This conscious approach gives a greater sense of purpose to the company’s, all while becoming a more attractive employer and brand — two states which are ultimately lucrative for a business.
What are some CSR activities?
In the past, CSR has gained a reputation of being a one-day activity where co-workers volunteer their time at a local charity. However, with the advent of platforms such as Visit.org, employees can now help build their company’s purpose culture through engaging one-time and repeat activities, in addition to traditional volunteering and donation-matching. Such CSR activities include: inspirational talks, team building experiences, workshops, drives, meals, etc. — all of which, through platforms like Visit.org, reinvest 100% of host revenue to a cause that the company and its employees care about.
Is CSR here to stay?
Besides supporting causes that matter, and actively benefiting their local community’s economic, social, and environmental needs — companies investing in a culture of corporate social responsibility find that it is good for business to do so. Here are some reasons that CSR is more than just a trend.
Earnings & Savings
According to Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report from 2015, 66% of customers are willing to pay more for products from companies who are more socially responsible. Meanwhile, business leaders are becoming increasingly aware that giving back programs attract and retain employees. Forbes.com has noted how Millennials, especially, prioritize working for companies that care about contributing to social good. As this generation begins to takeover the workforce, it is essential that corporations offer CSR programs in order to save on recruitment costs. By supporting causes that matter, businesses are becoming more reputable — attracting both talent and customers, thereby saving as well as generating income.
A brand’s committment to corporate social responsibility can save it from damaging controversies. For instance, even after Google’s James Damore and the anti-diversity memo in 2018, Forbes reported that Google still had the number one reputation when it came to corporate responsibility. Despite the publicity of the scandal, the business world and its consumers are aware of Google’s do-good projects, such as their current work tracking illegal fishing in 1.4 billion square miles or their partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund to track gas leaks in 1.3 million miles of pipelines. Among the many reasons Google has a recognizable name and a positive reputation, their robust CSR program is one that is gaining more interest from the public.
According to a poll at Gallup, a staggering 87% of workers globally are not engaged in their jobs. And because companies with interested employees have shares 147% more profitable compared to their un-engaged counterparts, employee engagement essential to the success of a business.
Fortunately, companies do not have to go bankrupt to impress or entertain their employees. In fact, 60% of employees who are proud of their company’s social responsibility are also greatly absorbed into their workplaces. So, a company taking a stand on a societal issue that its employees care about is a simple way to give workers a sense of deeper meaning at their jobs. Of course, with platforms such as Visit.org, there are even more ways to build a culture of engaged, socially-conscious employees who are passionate about what they do.
Socially-conscious business is not just a perfect-world idea, it is a reality gaining traction quickly throughout the world. As more and more businesses involve themselves with responsible projects, meaningful goals, and corporate giving cultures focused on the environment, poverty, women empowerment, and other causes — more benefits are reaped, not just by the community being served, but by the actual companies themselves.
Your company’s CSR program does not have to look like that of other companies who are able to donate millions of dollars overnight. Instead, you can start with a weekend of gardening in the inner city, or a once-a-year fun run that benefits a cause (these activities and more are available on Visit.org). Even small steps can leave a positive impact on both the company and the people around them.
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