Corporate social responsibility – often abbreviated as CSR in business jargon – is defined by Financial Times as “a business approach that contributes to sustainable development by delivering economic, social, and environmental benefits for all stakeholders.” Also known as corporate sustainability or responsible business, companies – especially large ones with deep pockets – have largely engaged in socially-responsible business practices since the 1960s.
Younger generations are considerably more supportive of companies with strong CSR policies than their less-active counterparts. As younger people – namely Millennials and Generation Z – continue to populate more of the global base of consumers and companies’ rosters of employees, organizations will continue to ramp up their efforts to engage in responsible business.
Last year, for example, over two-thirds of relatively-wealthy millennials – some 69 percent of them – derive more utility from investing in responsible companies than not doing so. The study that uncovered this finding also indicated that those same millennials would readily cut returns short if it meant that higher-yielding public stock of less-responsible corporations were kicked from their portfolios in favor of more-responsible, lower-yielding options.
It’s true – companies frequently engage in CSR-minded activities to boost profits, not for the good of society. Two United States academicians found that – the pair studied some 700 peer-reviewed sources from fields all around the universe of commerce – a majority of corporations do, in fact, take up corporate social responsibility policies and publicize them not to do good for the world; rather, those businesses largely wanted “the expected financial benefits associated with CSR.”
How might your company kick off well-rounded, effective corporate social responsibility policies and programs?
Whether your company is profit- or civic-minded insofar as CSR is concerned, here are a few solid methods to establish good civic-minded policies within your business’ corporate structure.
First, find out why your organization does business outside of generating profits and earning money for employees. A shoe manufacturer’s owner might have incorporated the company because they never had new shoes as a child. That company’s “reason” for doing its kind of business is to protect poor kids’ feet with high-quality shoes.
Although it sounds shallow – it is shallow, after all, but that’s the name of the game as far as CSR is concerned – make sure the activities your company engages in can be publicized relatively easily. Any project in which before-and-after pictures show a world of difference is a solid choice.
Lastly, seek out local and state-wide causes to contribute to. Showing stakeholders and potential customers that you care about locals is a great way to generate more business.