You have defined your business’ vision, mission and values, its core services and unique selling proposition. Your brand is well on its way to being defined and you know who your target audience is and how you will tailor your message to engage them. Now what about this concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that seems to be quite the business buzz word? What is the role of CSR in meeting your business and brand objectives? If thought through and implemented correctly, the right CSR strategy can become core to achieving your business’ objectives.
Components of CSR
CSR is far more than an annual donation, it has three components that should be considered holistically.
- Economic Growth
Intrinsically tied to your business objectives, a company’s economic impact is tied to the positive affect it has on the economy in which it operates. The sound decisions that lead to a profitable business are core to a company’s CSR mandate. By injecting money into an economy and creating jobs for local workers, your business is already contributing greatly to social outcomes.
- Environmental Action
The environmental commitments a company makes through its CSR strategy are largely policy decisions related to its environmental impact. This includes commitments to reducing energy consumption and waste production, purchasing decisions and travel policies among others.
- Community Involvement
Being a good corporate citizen means you are involved in your community, understand the needs of your community and are working to address them. There are many ways to develop your company’s community involvement strategy. It could be driven by the industry you work in, the cause(s) your employees are most passionate about or in reaction to a cause that is most pressing in the communities where your business operates. In addition to how you decide on the community focus of your organization, how you become involved varies. You might decide to commit a percentage of annual profit or a percentage of every sale to a social cause. Alternatively (or additionally), your company might choose to match the donations that employees make to one or more community focused initiatives.
A CSR strategy needs to be more than an add on to your business activities. If ingrained in your practices it will become a compass in directing decisions. Consumers are looking for companies to do more in this area. Globally, 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for the products and services offered by companies that are committed to creating environmental and social impact. CSR should become part of your business strategy and planning to ensure you achieve your overarching objectives.