The call for more active efforts toward Corporate Social Responsibility has been around for several years now, but consumers have started demanding more of it from businesses in recent years. As much as 70% of American consumers and employees now expect companies to be conscientious in their activities, and almost 80% say they are more willing to support businesses that do so.
This indicates that CSR is no longer just a vague plan that can be postponed to the distant future. Businesses must take action now, and business executives in this direction should take concrete steps. Many larger corporations have responded to the call, with more than 90% of S&P 500 companies reporting CSR activities in 2020, a huge jump from just 20% less than a decade ago.
Defining Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility refers to a company’s efforts, beyond those mandated by law, to create value for its stakeholders and the community it belongs to. This initiative drives enterprises to be more accountable to society and the environment over the long term.
While making these efforts may entail some operational adjustments and costs on the company’s part, they also bring back corresponding benefits. Aside from enjoying stronger loyalty from its employees, companies with active CSR campaigns also get a more positive public perception, higher consumer engagement, and better brand recall.
If you are just about to start developing your own CSR program, there are certain factors that you need to take into consideration to ensure its success. First are the company’s values and vision, which the CSR efforts must be aligned with to make it sustainable. Next are the metrics for success, which should be clearly defined, the internal sources that would need to be tapped, and any other dependencies that may affect the program’s implementation.
How To Practice Corporate Social Responsibility
Many companies hesitate to start their CSR campaign because of the anticipated costs of running such a program and the logistics involved, which could affect a large part of their operations. And with the numerous problems they have to deal with daily, many decision-makers would opt to push this to the back of the list.
However, CSR does not have to be so difficult to initiate. You could always start small and align it with the company’s capabilities at present. This can also serve as the testing period, where you identify all areas for improvement, then slowly increase the scale as you move forward. Here are some of the ways you can do CSR projects without hurting your budget:
1. Choose Your Cause
There are many ways to do CSR, but you don’t have to do all of them, especially if you have limited resources. If you force your company to get involved in everything, you may only end up spreading yourself too thin, which is neither efficient nor productive.
Rather, it is better to focus on one or two, such as environmental or social activities that you can do best and where you could have the greatest impact. Choose a cause that aligns with the company’s values and vision and the team’s interests as a whole. This will improve buy-in of the concept as well as the engagement and cooperation of employees during execution.
2. Use Your Resources Creatively
CSR does not always mean you have to spend the company’s money and not get anything in return. You can be more creative with your CSR programs and use your available resources responsibly.
For example, when buying company uniforms or any clothing requirement for the business, you can make it a policy to only buy union apparel from trustworthy suppliers that you have previously vetted. It can also be as simple as swapping your current lights with energy-efficient bulbs or using only non-toxic cleaning products for the office facilities. In this way, your costs would be about the same because you will be buying these things anyway, but you are already doing your part in helping society or the environment.
3. Maximize Your Manpower
Sometimes, all it takes is to educate your employees and make them more conscious of the little things that can be done to help the community without disrupting their lifestyle. When taken as a group, these small steps can already significantly impact your CSR program.
Encouraging everyone to replace their cups and utensils with reusable instead of disposable ones, asking employees to turn off their computers during break times or when they are leaving their workstation for some time, and going paperless whenever possible are just some operational adjustments that you can do without costing the company a lot. You can also organize volunteer events during weekends and let the employees choose what cause or organization to help out with during this time.