What is corporate social responsibility
Corporate social responsibility describes a company’s promise to maintain beneficial and ethical practices in each aspect of business. It also refers to the process by which a company uses its position to promote charitable acts for the public.
Benefits of being socially responsible as a business
Here are potential benefits of being socially responsible, according to CIO Story:
Makes you a valuable employment option
By implementing corporate social responsibility practices, you can attract talented candidates who share the same values as your company. For example, if your company holds a bi-annual fundraiser for the local homeless shelter and offers an internship program for vulnerable youths, job-seekers might be more drawn to your company.
Improves customer loyalty
Demonstrating corporate social responsibility can also help you build your customer base and encourage existing customers to continue purchasing your products and services. This could be for a number of reasons. For example, customers might continue to return because they want to help support your initiatives to fund a local charity or environmental project, or they could continue to buy from your business because they know that you value employee welfare.
Enhances brand awareness and goodwill association
Corporate social responsibility can also be helpful in spreading awareness about your company, further enhancing your brand identity and associating it with initiatives geared toward the greater good. Establishing a positive brand image could also help increase your customer base as consumers might want to associate themselves with your business and its goodwill.
Promotes charitable and ethical practices by employees
If your business maintains corporate social responsibility as a part of its identity, then you might also encourage your employees to take on the same beliefs and values within their communities and beyond. Therefore, by establishing corporate social responsibility within your business practices, you have the potential to help your employees transform into well-rounded members of communities who can make a difference on an individual level.
Related: Company Values
Prevents or spreads awareness about environmental issues
As a business, you can use your platform to spread awareness about a particular environmental issue that is important to you (i.e., ocean health or deforestation). You can also practice corporate social responsibility by holding yourself, your employees and your business operations at a high environmental standard. For example, you could use local materials to prevent the admission of fossil fuels into the atmosphere, or conduct a thorough environmental report before building a factory or plant for the production of goods.
Allows local, national or international charities to gain recognition and support
By using your corporate social responsibility to promote charitable initiatives at a local, national or international scale, you can promote awareness about those initiatives to your customers and the existing community. Therefore, you can use your platform to encourage others to support or donate to charities as well.
Ways to be socially responsible + examples
There are several ways you can ensure your business practices social responsibility. Here a few examples, according to transparenthands.org:
1. Ethical responsibility
A business’s ethical responsibility is when it makes a point to uphold fair labor standards in its internal operations and in its partnerships with suppliers. They do this by establishing set guidelines about workplace discrimination and working conditions. They might also make sure that the products they receive from suppliers are fair trade by conducting in-person inspections and ensuring that the workers at factories or farms receive the adequate pay.
Example: A sustainable clothing company sends inspectors to their factory locations to ensure that factory workers are receiving proper treatment like having access to clean drinking water, food, rest breaks and restroom facilities.
2. Philanthropic responsibility
A business’s philanthropic responsibility is when it makes a point to uphold charitable organizations and causes through donations, volunteering and other factors. The idea is to use their business platform as a method for helping vulnerable communities or societal areas that need more attention.
Example: A company that sells organic feminine hygiene products works to create a campaign that will help poorer communities gain free access to their products. They do this by creating a campaign whereby for every product sold, one gets donated to their cause.
3. Environmental responsibility
A business’s environmental responsibility is when it makes a point to take sustainable and environmentally-friendly actions to carry out its business initiatives. This could be demonstrated in a willingness to change the materials they use to make their products or their willingness to conduct an environmental report to determine whether or not their factory locations could pose a danger to wildlife or water sources.
Example: A restaurant owner refrains from purchasing products from across the country and instead coordinates with local farmers to get fruits, vegetables, dairy products and meat. This helps them uphold their initiative to reduce their company’s carbon footprint.
4. Economic responsibility
A business’s economic responsibility is when it makes a point to produce products or services that match the quality, price and overall needs of the consumer. A business’s economic responsibility is also purposed toward creating a business growth plan that would further help the consumer or community. Economic responsibility can also refer to a business’s obligation to provide employment to job candidates and in doing so, promote their livelihood.
Example: A business opens a new factory location in a neighboring city where the unemployment rates are high, with a hope that they can help provide jobs to members of the community while also expanding their business.