Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is vital not just for the environment, society, and the world at large, but also for corporate reputation.
Commendable CSR strategies improve consumer trust, company recommendations and brand sentiment. And here’s the best part…These all lead to increased revenue for corporations and small businesses alike. But corporate social responsibility benefits extend far beyond sales.
Socially responsible businesses also build a buffer against scandals and other reputation busters. Why? Because online publishers are more likely to write positive articles about your brand when you do good deeds. As a result, Google will have much more positive content to offset anything negative that may pop up in the future.
Value of corporate social responsibility
I’m sure you know that consumers, employees, and other stakeholders value social responsibility and environmental sustainability. And when you promote your CSR efforts online, they appear in your search results which improves brand sentiment.
In fact, a new commissioned study by Forrester Consulting revealed some intriguing brand reputation statistics. For example:
- 48%of executives believe improving search results wouldincrease brand equity.
- 54% of executives believe removing unwanted search results would drive revenue growth.
Here’s a link to the commissioned Forrester Consulting study.
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Best Corporate Social Responsibility Examples
When companies go above and beyond what’s expected environmentally or socially, they’re engaging in corporate social responsibility. Did you catch that? It’s pretty important.
Government regulations already limit pollution and ensure that companies practice certain human rights standards. So companies can’t toot their own horn if they’re just following the law. However, brands that go the extra mile are employing exemplary CSR initiatives.
Socially responsible companies and business leaders care about more than the financial bottom line. They adjust their business strategies to positively impact society and the environment.
These are the most common examples of corporate social responsibility:
- Reduce carbon footprints to mitigate climate change
- Improve labor policies and embrace fair trade
- Engage in charitable giving and volunteer efforts within your community
- Change corporate policies to benefit the environment
- Make socially and environmentally conscious investments
Let’s dive into some of the most impactful corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Improve labor policies and embrace fair trade
News flash: Job applicants aren’t eager to apply for positions that offer the bare minimum compensation.
Conversely, employees deserve to be generously reimbursed for the time and work they dedicate to their company. Brands that improve working conditions and well-being for all employees — including fair trade partnerships — can see big returns in the form of a happy and productive workforce.
Think about it. The happier your employees are, the lower your turnover is likely to be. And turnover is expensive.
For example, Netflix offers their employees 52 weeks of paid parental leave, which applies to both parents. Within that time, employees have the option of going back to work and then resuming their paid leave as it suits them. No matter how they choose to take their leave of absence, they receive their full salary for the entirety of its duration. Netflix also offers unlimited vacation time to their workers, as does LinkedIn.
Spotify’s benefits include 24 weeks of paid leave for both moms and dads, which can be divvied up however they choose over the three years following a child’s birth.
However, you don’t need to make grand gestures like these to improve employee morale. Introducing more natural lighting, soft seating, plants, or permitting remote work can also boost team spirits.
Engage in charitable giving and volunteer
The pharmaceutical company Pfizer makes the list of corporations that give. They raise awareness for non-infectious diseases and work to provide healthcare to women and children who struggle with adequate care. The company’s philanthropic activities also include supplying multi-dose vials of its vaccine Prevenar 13 at the price of just a few dollars for one dose.
Financial giant Wells Fargo sets an annual goal to donate up to 1.5% of its revenue to charitable causes such as NeighborWorks. Besides financial donations, Wells Fargo employees are given two paid days off a year to volunteer, which is indicative of a growing trend among corporations. Over half of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For offer paid leave specifically to encourage their workers to give back to their local community. Motivating your employees to get involved in CSR activities is an easy way to strengthen your corporate citizenship.
Change corporate policies to benefit the environment
Hydrofluorocarbons, a chemical coolant that is commonly used in cold-storage facilities, is one of the most prevalent GHGs in the atmosphere. That’s why, in 2015, Target pledged to open new facilities that elected to use ammonia to modulate the temperature instead.
Cleaning product company Method does its part to create sustainable products by packaging its dish and hand soap using plastic recovered from the ocean to be “as kind to the planet as they are tough on dirt.” It stays true to its mission in other ways too. Method uses wind energy to power its production plants and makes its soap as biodegradable as possible.
Here are some ways socially responsible companies can help the environment.
- Hold an annual tree-planting event.
- Set up recycling bins throughout your facilities
- Minimize your amount of paper waste
- Permit remote work to reduce the negative impact of commuter traffic
- Switch from incandescent light bulbs to energy-saving LED bulbs.
- Make socially and environmentally conscious investments
Socially Responsible Companies
When the social responsibility efforts of businesses become part of company culture, people take notice. These socially conscious companies are leading the charge in making the world a better place.
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TOMS is known for their business model of providing one pair of shoes to a person in need for every pair of shoes they sell. As admirable as that goal is, their fight for human rights extends well beyond that. They also partner up with a number of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and other nonprofit organizations to demonstrate ethical behavior. TOMS also helps to restore vision to visually-impaired individuals, provides clean drinking water and builds businesses in developing countries and fights bullying.
Coca-Cola continues to make strides toward aiding in the alleviation of environmental issues. After realizing that its fleet of delivery trucks accounted for 3.7 million metric tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in 2014, Coca-Cola made significant changes to its supply chain like investing in trucks that are powered by alternative fuels. Those changes should support the company’s goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 25 percent by 2020.
Ford Motor Company
Ford is another corporation attempting to improve their environmental performance. In an effort to reduce its GHG emissions, an EcoBoost engine was developed to increase fuel efficiency and the company hopes to offer 13 new electric vehicle models by 2020. In addition, American Ford dealerships now use wind sail and solar PV systems as their primary power source.
Dell now contributes to environmental management by shipping their laptops in less wasteful containers using more eco-friendly materials.
Other top brands investing in CSR:
- Bosch invests half of its research and development budget in environmental protection technology.
- In 2016, GE donated $88 million to community and educational programs.
- Starbucks promises to be a socially responsible company by hiring 25,000 veterans before 2025.
- New Belgium Brewing Company strives to be a sustainable business by using solar panels to power their bottling plant as well as an anaerobic digester to convert wastewater into energy, and their employees use bikes to get around the brewery.
There are plenty of ways for your company to increase its humanitarian efforts and contribute to global sustainable development. Not sure where to begin? Check out the ISO 26000 for some great advice to improve your business environment.
Best CSR Companies in 2018
It’s a good idea to look to the leaders to see who is doing well and why their business stands out. To see how you compare, here’s the 2018 World’s Most Reputable Companies for Corporate Responsibility rankings, according to the Reputation Institute’s CSR RepTrak:
- The Walt Disney Company
- Novo Nordisk
Google notably earned the Reputation Institute’s highest CSR score by implementing the following reductions in environmental impact:
- Data centers use less power, with 50% less energy than other comparable data centers
- Google contributes to renewable energy, committing more than $1 billion to renewable energy projects
- The company enables businesses to decrease their own environmental impact by using Gmail
Why is Corporate Social Responsibility Important?
Corporate citizenship matters because companies typically have great resources to enact real, positive change. But beyond the satisfaction of knowing they’re bettering the world, what’s in it for the companies? The answer to that question is quite a bit — and a lot of it has to do with building a great online reputation.
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The most important benefit of a CSR program is trust.
Let me put it this way: If a company does the right thing environmentally and socially, consumers feel they can trust them to do the right thing in all situations. Further, when consumers purchase a product, they feel they’re directly responsible for how that product was made — for better or worse.
That’s why the Reputation Institute has found that a higher corporate responsibility ranking leads to more supportive consumer behaviors. And this translates to big benefits for brands!
These CSR statistics are insane:
- 92 percent of consumers have a more positive image of companies that support social issues and environmental efforts
- 63 percent of the public would give socially responsible businesses the benefit of the doubt during a crisis
- 87 percent will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about
- 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay extra to patronize companies that are committed to CSR
- 3.2x increase in trust when a company’s reputation score goes from “average” to “excellent”
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Corporate Responsibility Offers Protection Against Most Scandals
Let’s be honest. The bigger your company, the more likely you’ll be drawn into a scandal.
A healthy CSR program also doubles as reputation protection. Research from the University of Dayton and Virginia Tech indicates that strong social responsibility offers a shield against scandals. But the benefits go deeper than protection.
You’ll also be more likely to bounce back from negative information. Perhaps more importantly, it creates a reputation of reliability and honesty, which is always valuable whether you’re facing scandals or not.
Research from Boston University and Baruch College suggests that with good corporate social responsibility, companies can build a “reservoir of goodwill.” This goodwill will increase customer motivation to minimize the impact of negative search results.
Further research from the University of California, Berkeley finds that corporate citizenship can essentially serve as reputation insurance. It can protect firms from sustaining long-term damage following adverse events, and them recover more quickly.
So companies can actually make the world a better place while strengthening brand reputation. That’s a win-win situation. Want some data to back up that claim?
The Berkeley team performed an analysis of stock price responses for S&P 500 companies after product recalls. The research found that firms with better corporate social responsibility ratings maintained higher stock prices than firms with a lower corporate citizenship scores.
Ultimately, companies that are able to do good in an exceptional manner will suffer virtually no reputational damage following adverse events.
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Good Corporate Citizenship Attracts Top Talent
Ok. It’s great to help the environment. But what about your bottom line?
Think about your human resources department. Many employees are proud to work for a company with a good reputation. Studies show that millennials in particular hold it in very high regard.
Giving back is great for making an impact and improving reputation and trust. But it’s also essential for the recruitment and retention of top talent. Strong corporate citizens often find that they are able to attract top talent, raise productivity, and maintain high employee engagement.
A Warning Against Greenwashing
Listen up! This part is super important:
Most corporations establish CSR programs to genuinely give back, and they use considerable resources to make a positive impact on the world. However, there are some that cultivate the image of a socially responsible organization simply for the marketing benefits.
This disingenuous form of “giving back” is known as greenwashing, and it’s an example of bad corporate social responsibility. Rather than actually engaging in social or environmental improvements, corporations may simply spin their advertising and reputation marketing to make it seem as if they’re doing a good thing.
Greenwashing takes many forms. For example, a bank may claim to be “green” because it offers online banking. However, their energy usage to offer this service may be generating greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change. Or perhaps an energy company is promoting its new clean technology while 98 percent of its fuel is still dirty.
Greenwashing may fool some consumers temporarily, but it will ultimately ruin your reputation. Authenticity is essential to building trust. Consumers who feel they’ve been misled by a company’s advertising may never trust your organization again.
Next we’ll cover the most important part of this article: Promoting your CSR program.
Maximizing the Benefits of CSR
Many businesses are aware of the benefits of corporate responsibility. But businesses need to better communicate their corporate social responsibility programs to the general public. Customers love to support brands that do good. And all the positive press will help build a stronger company reputation.
Don’t be afraid to highlight your company’s CSR. Think of it less as a marketing ploy and more as something that’s worth doing for the positive ripple effect it could have. It’s also a more organic way to enhance your online reputation, because news media and other outlets are likely to write about your initiatives and link back to you.
CSR greatly improves the effectiveness of your Corporate reputation management strategy. Whether your goals are to protect your brand or recover from a crisis, you’ll get there more quickly when others are publishing positive content about your company.
Find out how reputation management companies can improve your brand image.
Effective ways to promote your CSR efforts
Align your efforts with your brand
Choose CSR initiatives that work authentically with your established brand. Not only is it a more natural fit, but your activities will directly impact your customer base.
Don’t overlook local initiatives
Global causes are undoubtedly critical, but don’t neglect what’s happening right in your backyard. Build strategies around soup kitchens, food banks, homeless shelters, schools and senior citizens. You’ll make a difference and increase brand visibility among your customer base.
Advertise charitable efforts
Post flyers in your windows or near your cash registers. You could also write a blog post or create a section on your website calling out your charitable giving. Some brands also leverage social media to amplify giving and positive mentions.
Involve your customers
Encourage consumers to donate to the good causes you champion. Ask them to give at the point of sale or donate a certain percentage of your proceeds to charity.
Focus your attention
Concentrate on just a few charities. This will make you appear more authentic and less like your business is trying fake goodwill for profit.
Be more interactive
Encourage word-of-mouth communication by participating in activities that are easily shareable on social media. Use relatable images and videos to bring awareness to your good deeds.
Encourage further giving
Ask consumers and other stakeholders to join you in your mission for giving. Gently prompt them to contribute their time, money, and other resources to the causes and initiatives that you highlight.
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What is the CSR of Nike? ›
Nike's Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability program resonates with the company's core belief that “sports can change the world for the better.” Nike leverages the unifying power of sports to promote its CSR agenda in three key areas: diversity and inclusion, community investment, and environmental ...What is the CSR of Coca-Cola? ›
They have a range of partnerships to protect and enhance the environment by recycling, water efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and cleaning up litter. Coca-Cola also emphasized that all of their employees must make time to volunteer in their community because it's the right thing to do.Which are the 3 companies with the best CSR for 2022? ›
CSR initiatives for Starbucks cover wide range of business aspects and employee relationships such as supporting local communities, educating and empowering workers, gender equality and minorities, energy and water consumption, waste reduction etc.Does Mcdonalds have CSR? ›
Company introduces goals and measurable plan to create shared value for its business and society. McDonald's Corp. today announced its first Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability Framework that is designed to position the company for the future, while generating measurable, positive impacts for society.Is Apple good at CSR? ›
Apple offers recycling programs in 99 percent of the countries it operates and the company has diverted more than 508 million pounds of electronic waste from landfills since 2008.Is IKEA a socially responsible company? ›
IKEA CSR efforts and activities comprise supporting local communities, educating and empowering workers and addressing the issues of gender equality and minorities within the company. Moreover, the global furniture retailer works to reduce its energy consumption and derive energy from alternative sources.Is Nike a leader in CSR? ›
Today, Nike is one of the leaders of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Nike has made a commitment to implement sustainability efforts and is constantly evolving to reduce its environmental impact. While the company is by no means perfect, Nike has a vision that's explained in its yearly sustainability report.How is Rolex socially responsible? ›
In 1960, Hans Wildorf transferred 100% of Rolex's shares to a non-profit organization called the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation. Rolex remains privately owned by this foundation. The foundation is known to sponsor philanthropic projects and communities indeed.How is Nestle socially responsible? ›
Sustainability throughout Nestlé
Our ambition is a future where none of our packaging ends up in landfill or as litter. We will achieve and maintain 100% deforestation-free primary supply chains by 2022 for meat, palm oil, pulp and paper, soya and sugar, and by 2025 for coffee and cocoa.
What is the CSR of Google company? ›
Google's CSR efforts generally focus on providing useful products. While these efforts satisfy stakeholders like users and advertisers or customers, they also satisfy Google's investors. The usefulness of these products make them popular, widely used, and profitable.What is a good example of CSR? ›
Engaging in charity work. Purchasing fair trade products. Investing in environmentally conscious businesses. Getting involved in volunteer work.Is Disney a CSR? ›
Our stories encourage children and adults to see the world in a positive light, to believe that anything is possible, and to take action to make their world a better place.” The Walt Disney Company has a longstanding commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).What company has the most social responsibility? ›
|1||International Business Machines Corp||97.76|
|3||Tata Consultancy Services Ltd||97.52|
|5||Johnson & Johnson||97.21|
Sony Electronics (SEL) is dedicated to making a positive impact in the communities where employees work and live. The company is focused on inspiring and educating youth through the use of technology and focuses its efforts on supporting education in the classroom.What makes Ben and Jerry's socially responsible? ›
The activist company has made significant efforts to support “grassroots activism and community organizing for social and environmental justice around the country.” Many of their special edition flavors revolve around creative awareness campaigns such as Justice Remix'd and Pecan Resist.What is Dunkin Donuts corporate social responsibility? ›
“We are dedicated to serving the basic needs of our local communities – from providing food for the hungry and support for children's health and wellness, to ensuring our neighborhoods are safe and secure.” To help the community, Dunkin' Brands created the Dunkin' Donuts & Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation.What is Chick Fil A CSR? ›
Through corporate social responsibility efforts and initiatives, Chick-fil-A supports organizations dedicated to the issues of hunger, homelessness and education. It is our pleasure to support these organizations that are making a meaningful impact in the local communities Chick-fil-A serves.
Netflix views Family Medical Leave Policy as supporting the continuity, growth and existence of society. Netflix believes it supports the relationship between business, society and universal rights.
Made by people everywhere. Apple products are made possible by millions of people in over 50 countries. From sourcing to recycling, we apply the highest standards to ensure that every person in our supply chain is valued, respected, and safe.
Is Nestle a CSR company? ›
CSR initiatives by Nestle in India
Nestle since its very inception has been taking CSR initiatives that help in adding value to the lives of the people where they operate.
The BMW Foundation promotes responsible leadership and inspires leaders worldwide to work towards a peaceful, just and sustainable future. Through its activities, the Foundation aims to advance the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.What is Walmart CSR? ›
We aim to build a better world — helping people live better and renew the planet while building thriving, resilient communities. For us, this means working to create opportunity, build a more sustainable future, advance diversity, equity and inclusion and bring communities closer together.How is Costco socially responsible? ›
One of the ways Costco is recognized as a socially responsible company is in the way it treats employees. According to Ethics Unwrapped, the retailer puts a high value on its employees and works to encourage them to do what's right and to maintain their health and positive self-esteem.Is Unilever socially responsible? ›
Unilever is a successful international company with a strong historical commitment to corporate social responsibility – a commitment we seek to honour every day through our diverse operations around the world. Unilever is one of the largest consumer goods businesses in the world.What is H&M doing for sustainability? ›
It offers Conscious collections, made from sustainably sourced materials and the products dropped off at in-store recycle bins, and it uses eco-friendly materials in some products, such as organic cotton and recycled polyester.How is Adidas being socially responsible? ›
Core to adidas' human rights approach is our commitment to ensuring fair labor practices, fair compensation and safe working conditions in factories throughout its global supply chain. Our efforts are guided by the adidas Workplace Standards, our supply chain code of conduct.How is Reebok socially responsible? ›
The Reebok Foundation promotes social and economic equality by supporting inner-city youth and underserved groups since 1986.How did Nike embraced CSR? ›
In 2005, Nike was the first company in its industry to demonstrate transparency, when it published a complete list of its contract factories. In the same year, it also published its first version of a CSR report -- detailing pay scales and working conditions in its factories and admitting continued problems.Is Gucci ethically responsible? ›
It has a policy approved by CanopyStyle to prevent deforestation of ancient and endangered forests in its supply chain, and it reduces chromium and other hazardous chemicals from its leather tanning processes. Gucci also uses some more eco-friendly materials, like in its circular line, “Gucci Off The Grid“.
Why is CSR important to Nestlé company? ›
The program aims to create value for shareholders by operating with policies addressing global and local nutrition, water, and rural development. Through CSV, Nestlé promotes empowerment, synergies, and sustainability.Why is CSR important to Nestlé? ›
Stewards of People, Communities, and the Planet
But our approach goes beyond conserving natural resources for future generations. Shared value also focuses on enhancing the quality of life for individuals and families as well as developing strong, thriving communities.
Nestlé's pledge to the environment is part of its approach to business,which it calls 'Creating Shared Value'. The company aims to create value in the supply chain, improve livelihoods for the communities in which it operates, and enhance its own activities.What is CSR and its examples? ›
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a business model in which for-profit companies seek ways to create social and environmental benefits while pursuing organizational goals, like revenue growth and maximizing shareholder value.What are 4 examples of social responsibility? ›
The four main types of corporate social responsibility are environmental responsibility, ethical responsibility, philanthropic responsibility, and economic responsibility. However, companies can also consider different forms of CSR; such as diversity, inclusion, wellbeing, and employee engagement.What is corporate social responsibility give at least 2 examples? ›
Some examples of CSR components are reducing carbon footprint and energy consumption, engaging in wildlife conservation initiatives, encouraging charity and volunteer work, supporting local communities, improving labor policies, ensuring diversity and equality in the workplace, investing in nonprofit organizations, and ...Is Tesla a CSR? ›
Tesla has some aspects of CSR hardcoded into its DNA. Its mission statement is “to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy” (source: Tesla). The manufacturer of electric vehicles (EV) has become synonymous with greener transportation and other hi-tech services.Is Samsung a CSR? ›
Samsung Engineering seeks to improve conditions around the world through our social contribution programs. Company-wide, we utilize our strengths and resources to benefit local communities and help children and families in need.Is Sony a CSR? ›
Corporate Social Responsibility
Through our partnerships with worthy causes, in-kind product donations and employee volunteerism, we strive to make a difference in our communities and the world around us.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the idea that a company should play a positive role in the community and consider the environmental and social impact of business decisions.
What are the three 3 basic principles of corporate social responsibility? ›
It is therefore imperative to be able to identify such activity and we take the view that there are three basic principles which together comprise all CSR activity. These are: Sustainability; • Accountability; • Transparency.What are 5 social responsibilities? ›
- Environmental responsibility. ...
- Human rights responsibility. ...
- Philanthropic responsibility. ...
- Economic responsibility. ...
- Stronger brand image, recognition, and reputation. ...
- Increased customer loyalty and sales. ...
- Operational cost savings.
Some examples of CSR components are reducing carbon footprint and energy consumption, engaging in wildlife conservation initiatives, encouraging charity and volunteer work, supporting local communities, improving labor policies, ensuring diversity and equality in the workplace, investing in nonprofit organizations, and ...What is a good example of social responsibility? ›
Working for the community, such as volunteering, giving blood donations, and working at a food bank or animal shelter. Supporting issues that affect society, such as advocating political or social issues that can help others—for example, advocating for child labor laws, purchasing fair trade products, recycling.What are the 6 CSR principles? ›
- Social commitment. Through its core business, the Group seeks to create meaningful medicines to help patients live longer.
- Business conduct. ...
- Anti-corruption. ...
- Human rights. ...
- Labour rights and work conditions. ...
- Whistleblowing. ...
- Environmental responsibility.
What Are the Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility? Embracing CSR increases customer retention and loyalty, increases employee engagement, improves brand imaging, attracts investment opportunities and top talent, and makes a difference for bottom-line financials.Why is CSR important for businesses? ›
An effective CSR program can have a positive impact on companies, employees, and consumers. For example, gaining efficiencies by reducing packaging or using less energy can help companies cut costs while also benefiting the environment. CSR can also create a competitive advantage in the marketplace.Why is social responsibility important in marketing? ›
Social responsibility in marketing involves focusing efforts on attracting consumers who want to make a positive difference with their purchases. Many companies have adopted socially responsible elements in their marketing strategies to help a community via beneficial services and products.What are the five main areas of CSR? ›
- Environmental Responsibility. ...
- Ethical Responsibility. ...
- Philanthropic Responsibility. ...
- Economic Responsibility.
- Ethical behavior.
- Respect for stakeholder interests.
- Respect for the rule of law.
- Respect for the international norms of behavior.
- Respect for human rights.
What are the 7 basis of CSR? ›
Key CSR issues: environmental management, eco-efficiency, responsible sourcing, stakeholder engagement, labour standards and working conditions, employee and community relations, social equity, gender balance, human rights, good governance, and anti-corruption measures.What are the 4 ways a company can engage in corporate social responsibility? ›
The four types of Corporate Social Responsibility are philanthropy, environment conservation, diversity and labor practices, and volunteerism.How can I promote my CSR? ›
- Believe in corporate social responsibility. ...
- Know your values, and understand how they come to life in your community. ...
- Localize your efforts. ...
- Involvement at all levels of the organization. ...
- Encourage participation. ...
- Understand financial implications.