Our last few blog posts have explored small business trends in 2020. Specifically, the last issue touched on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
If you are new to CSR, the concept may seem incredibly idealistic. It may also seem daunting to introduce into your business model. However, a CSR policy can be incredibly beneficial. Not just to society but also to your company, employees, stakeholders and customers.
What is corporate social responsibility?
Business News Daily defines CSR as “an evolving business practice that incorporates sustainable development into a company’s business model.”
Furthermore, it can be considered part of a company’s approach to corporate governance. CSR often touches every part of the business – operations, HR, manufacturing, supply chain, health and safety.
People, Planet and Profit
The main tenets of a CSR program are social, environmental and economic sustainability. In other words, businesses with a social responsibility program take action that enacts positive change on society and the environment, while also growing their bottom line.
Let’s take a closer look at the elements of an effective CSR strategy:
Environmental efforts: Regardless of size, all businesses have carbon footprints. Any steps that can be taken reduce those impacts are considered good for the company, local communities and society. Additionally, effective resource management and energy efficiency practices can help save money.
Philanthropy: Practicing social responsibility can be as easy as donating money, products or services to social causes and non-profits. CSR can be considered a broader strategy in which philanthropic efforts are integrated with a company’s overall mission and business policies.
Ethical labor practices: By treating employees fairly and ethically, companies can demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility. This is especially true of businesses that operate in international locations with labor laws that differ from those in North America.
Volunteering: Attending volunteer events says a great deal about a company’s authenticity. By doing good deeds without expecting anything in return, businesses can express their concern for certain issues and commitment to specific organizations.
Economic responsibility: All companies are legally required to pay taxes in one way or another. Companies with an established CSR programs may pay special attention to how that money is being used to benefit their local communities. Not all economic responsibility happens outside the walls of a company, on your dime. A critical aspect involves paying employees fair and competitive wages to ensure their well being and ability to provide for their families.
Above and Beyond
As the use of corporate responsibility expands, it is becoming extremely important to have a socially conscious image. Consumers, employees and stakeholders are beginning to prioritize CSR when choosing brands and companies. They are holding corporations accountable for effecting social change with their business beliefs, practices and profits.
Certain companies, such as SPUD.ca, Ethical Bean coffee and Danone (Canada), are even going above and beyond. These companies are gaining recognition and becoming Certified B Corp businesses. That is to say, they meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
Want to know more about CSR and becoming a Certified B Corp business? Stay tuned for the next issue!
Hint Hint…we have a Certified B Corp company in the GBC network…