Is having a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program just a cost to your company?
Developing great companies that give back is more about devising a clear Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) program aligned with the company’s goals and values rather than forcefully integrating CSR with their business strategies and goals. Instead of passing it off as a short term marketing gimmick, CSR should be seen as a long term investment strategy.
Some benefits that a good CSR imparts to a business:
- Improving name recognition
- Boosting brand reputation among consumers
- Increasing sales and positive consumer sentiment
- Assisting in efforts to recruit and retain talented employees
- Improving the quality of life in communities where you do business
Some companies with example of good CSR model:
Coca-Cola’s 5×20 program
Companies are no longer looking at CSR as a marketing move, but rather as a long-term investment. For example, the Coca-Cola Company’s 5×20 program aims to bring five million women in the developing world into its business as local bottlers and distributors of Coca-Cola products by 2020.
This investment to empower young women entrepreneurs will obviously generate more revenue for Coca-Cola because they will have more bottlers and can sell more product. But at the same time, this type of investment will undoubtedly lead to better-educated people and eventually, more prosperous communities in areas that need help.
The corporate social responsibility model implemented by Visa provides financial opportunities for people in developing areas of the world. By partnering with local governments and nonprofit organizations, people who previously did not have access to the benefits of banking and financial services now do.The Gates Foundation found that this type of service helps low income and poor people manage their finances in trying times, build assets, and increase connectivity worldwide.
CSR as a cost-saving measure
Other companies look at CSR as a way to save money. Energy efficiency is a good example. Wal-Mart has three goals of its social responsibility policy: to be fully supplied by renewable energy, to create zero waste, and to sell products that sustain people and the environment. These are lofty goals, but if achieved, they will ultimately save the company a great deal of money.
From savings to developing loyalty with consumers, the benefits of becoming a socially responsible far outweigh the costs. Companies can no longer to afford to ignore their social responsibilities.
Statistics on Employee Engagement
- 88% of Millennials feel their job is more fulfilling when they have the opportunity to make a positive impact.- 2016 Cone Millennial Engagement Study
- 93% of employees surveyed want to work for a company that cares about them as an individual- 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study
- 51% won’t work for a company that doesn’t have strong social and environmental commitments- 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study
- Employee advocacy increases with societal issue engagement. 82% of employees at a company involved in a broader societal cause would recommend company as an employer compared to 57% of employees at a company not involved. – Edelman Trust Barometer 2016
- 55% of global consumers willing to pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact up 10% from 2011 – Nielsen 2014 Doing Well by Doing Good
- 42% of North American consumers willing to pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact up 7% from 2011 – Nielsen 2014 Doing Well by Doing Good
- 1/3 rd of consumers (33%) are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good. – unilever international study 2016
- A study in 2014 by public relations and marketing firm Cone Communications and Echo Research revealed 90 percent of shoppers worldwide are likely to switch to brands that support a good cause, given similar price and quality.
- Among the 66% of global respondents willing to pay more, over 50% of them are influenced by key sustainability factors, such as a product being made from fresh, natural and/or organic ingredients (69%), a company being environmentally friendly (58%), and company being known for its commitment to social value (56%). Sales, and coupons didn’t even make the top five. For this group, personal values are more important than personal benefits, such as cost or convenience. – Nielsen
- More than one in five (21%) said they would actively choose brands if they made their sustainability credentials clearer on their packaging and in their marketing. Representing an estimated €966 billion opportunity exists for brands that make their sustainability credentials clear. – unilever international study 2016
- Trend for purpose-led purchasing is greater among consumers in emerging economies than in developed markets. 78% in the US and 53% of shoppers in the UK say they feel better when they buy products that are sustainably produced, that number rises to 88% in India and 85% in both Brazil and Turkey. – unilever international study 2016
Attitudes on Social Responsibility
- 87% of Millennials believe that business success should be based on more than just profit – Delloitte Millennial Survey
- 80% of global consumers agree that business must play a role in addressing societal issues. Edelman Trust Barometer 2016
- 75% agree that a company can take specific action that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in the community in which it operates. Edelman Trust Barometer 2017
Millennials and Work
- Millennials outnumber Boomers in the workforce and 75% of the workforce will be Millennials by 2025- Newswire
- 71% of Millennialsbelieve that meaningful work is among the top three most essential factors that define a successful career.
- 76% of Millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work- 2016 Cone Millennial Engagement study
- 64% won’t take a job from a company that doesn’t have strong CSR practices- 2016 Cone Millennial Engagement study
- 75% say they would take a pay cut to work for a responsible company (vs. 55% U.S. average)- 2016 Cone Millennial Engagement study
Developing a CSR program is not necessarily just a cost, it can help propel your business forward, create a more civic conscious brand image while at the same time, giving back to society. A good CSR scheme should produce win-win outcomes.