What every business owner should know about corporate social responsibility (CSR)

What every business owner should know about corporate social responsibility (CSR)

Imagine that Company A and Company B were sold similar products in Charlotte, North Carolina, but Company A donated a part of its sales to environmental causes and Company B did not. There’s a bigger chance that customers would choose the former. After all, picking Company A demonstrates ethical behavior, and buying their products benefits the environment.

This is just one way corporate social responsibility (CSR) affects consumer behavior and overall brand perception. But what exactly is CSR, and why should your business be thinking about it?

Advocacy for a better society

CSR is about doing business ethically, and it includes implementing company policies and practices that aim to create positive social impacts. A business’s social involvement can range from philanthropy to environmental sustainability to community development — at the core of which is commitment.

Social responsibility is not a one-time charity event, but a partnership with an organization or a community that should span years, if not lifetimes. For instance, IBM supports long-term educational causes by giving grants, scholarships, and digital technology support to sectors that need them most.

What are the benefits of having a CSR program?

1. It can improve company reputation

With just a few clicks, customers can look up information about your business online. They can research what your company stands for, how you source your materials, and how you treat your employees. If people are consistently leaving negative feedback on internet forums, sites like Glassdoor, or on your social media pages, you risk losing potential sales.

On the other hand, if you do things right like ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s, you’ll gain a reputation for being a reliable business that supports animal welfare, competitive employee pay, and fair trade, among others. Positive attributes like these increase public trust in your company, and will give consumers more reasons to buy your products or services.

2. It can expand markets and increase profits

In the next few years, more businesses will utilize eCommerce more than ever, and the majority of marketing efforts will shift toward reaching audiences digitally. This means that businesses that look good online will somehow be incentivized. If potential customers scrolling through your social media pages see something that throws them off — say, your packaging is neither compostable nor biodegradable — they might think twice about patronizing your business.

This is why it’s important to leverage CSR values to appeal to people’s sensibilities. With your unique advocacy, you can even create a buzz. In some cases, something as simple as the motto “save the bees” can be picked up by news outlets, go viral, and give your business more exposure.

3. It can set you apart from the competition

Your CSR mission statement can strengthen your brand and set you apart from your competitors. For instance, your business can be a construction firm that provides temporary housing for the homeless. On a smaller scale, a patisserie can commit to a feeding program for stray cats in their community. By supporting an advocacy, your business can easily stick out from all the other enterprises that provide similar services or goods in the same area.

4. It boosts employee morale

Working for a socially responsible company can make employees feel good about their career choices. They will also be proud to say that they’re working for your organization, and this commendation can make your company attractive to job seekers.

What’s more, if your employees directly participate in CSR-related activities such as donation drives or disaster relief initiatives, they can feel even more relevant and fulfilled. This will foster in them a sense of loyalty to the company, helping you retain talent.

5. It truly helps the world

While CSR goals are often business-driven, executives and leaders should be genuine about changing society for the better. CSR must be part of the company culture, not just a one-off event to be used as a marketing gimmick. If you walk the talk about running a socially responsible business, you can have a more sustainable business model while making a difference in people’s lives.

CSR can take your business higher. And as your organization grows, you need to make sure that your technology will be able to support your changing needs. SpectrumWise provides customized, scalable, and affordable IT solutions for all your IT needs. Call us now to find out more.

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