Businesses are expected to do more than just make a profit. Instead, they have to think about the triple bottom line — planet, people, and profit. Implementing a corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy within your company sets the foundation for sustainable success.
What is Corporate Social Responsibility?
CSR is a tool businesses implement to impact either the environment, society, or both positively. It looks different from company to company as some may focus on societal issues like affordable/accessible education or LGBTQ+ rights. In comparison, other conscious businesses may focus their direct efforts on environmental issues such as deforestation or plastic pollution.
CSR efforts evolve over the years, and there are so many ways to make a difference. Here are a few approaches we seen companies take:
- Treating each and every employee fairly
- Providing a healthy and fun working environment
- Efforts in place to reduce their carbon or water footprint
- Donating money to non-profit organizations
- For every purchase customers make, one goes to a person in need
- Volunteering at the beach for a cleanup
- Inspiring employees to donate so that the employer can match their donation
What is the purpose of CSR?
The main intention of corporate social responsibility is to give back and make a difference in the world.
Reputation Institute reports that over 91% of those surveyed lean towards buying from a company with an excellent CSR track record. Since expecting more from corporations is becoming the norm, corporate social responsibility is another step to consider when starting up or operating.
All businesses want to succeed. To do that, you need your ideal customer to love your brand so that they keep buying from you. Skye Schooly from Business Daily News states, “In today’s socially conscious environment, employees and customers place a premium on working for and spending their money with businesses that prioritize CSR.” So not only is the effectiveness of a product/service important throughout the buying process, but so is a company’s social and environmental consciousness.
The benefits of corporate social responsibility
Not every company may form a CSR plan because its overarching purpose is to make the world a better place. However, we believe every company that has a CSR plan will be more profitable and resilient. It’s because CSR is not mandated in the U.S. Rather, it is something extra that has the potential to:
- increase sales and brand recognition
- attract talent and retain staff
- deepen trust and customer loyalty
- cultivate a positive business reputation
- establish a competitive advantage
- improve local and global communities
Plus, if you have a solid CSR track record like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, or World Surf League, customers will give you the benefit of the doubt during a crisis.
Examples of companies with Corporate Social Responsibility programs
World Surf League (WSL):
As a surfing community, we share a love of the ocean. This is why the WSL is committed to raising awareness around issues relating to protecting and conserving our global ocean.
We recognize that climate change, driven by the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, is already affecting the health of our ocean, altering wind and swell patterns, as well as the shape of our coastlines including the world’s most iconic waves and the people and communities that have been grown up around them.
House of Marley:
Our Project Marley Global Giving initiative was created in honor of the legendary Bob Marley and his respect for the earth and people. In addition to creating audio products that are better for the planet, we are also devoted to supporting global reforestation via One Tree Planted, and ocean conservation via the Surfrider Foundation.
CSR will help your company become a conscious and responsible one. And in turn, sales and souls will be positively impacted.
A great starting point for developing your CSR strategy is to look at the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. From there, learn about issues that align with your brand.