CSR -What is it anyway?
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become increasingly popular over the last few years. Whether it’s empowering women, helping the environment, or trying to end poverty, more and more companies are incorporating social responsibility into their overall business strategy… but what is it?
Well… CSR is when a company takes steps to ensure there are positive social and environmental effects associated with the way they do business; usually incorporating how they will address social issues alongside delivering business as usual. Not only can CSR models increase business and revenue, they promote change and progress throughout the world, which often involves helping people with few or no resources…great!
When properly implemented, CSR should become ingrained in the values and culture of a company. CSR should become inherent in the mission and message of an organisation, and also hold a strong place in the marketing and advertising. It may sound like a lot of hard work on top of the day job, but can you really afford not to invest your time into making the world a better place? Businesses that ignore CSR run a risk to their bottom line and their brand. Nowadays consumers want to spend their money on products and services that they believe in. They want ethical practices and to feel as though they are making a difference whilst shopping or at work. Win, win.
Take millennials, for example…. they account for roughly a quarter of the world’s population and the ‘World Data Lab’ forecasts that their global spending power will soon be greater than any generation. As the principal, consumer generation they are set to shape the direction of the world’s economy in the years ahead; with 88% of them thinking companies should try to achieve their business goals while improving society and 1 in 2 being belief driven buyers, meaning they buy or boycott a brand based on their stance on societal issues. Millennials are particularly tech savvy, and they don’t think twice about researching a company and looking into its ethical record, CSR approach and employment practices. Many feel like it is their duty to do their part in making the world a better place, and this burgeoning generation does not want to be associated with or support companies who do not take responsibility for the world and the people in it.
And guess what…employee engagement is also proven to be tied to a company’s CSR reputation. A recent Deliotte survey found that 70 percent of millennials acknowledged that a company’s commitment to social responsibility influenced their choice to work there. With millennials soon to be the largest generational segment of the workforce, companies looking to hire these workers will need to embrace CSR in order to attract and retain talent. Millennials don’t just want to consume products and services; they want to take part in making these social and environmental changes also.
It’s not just millennials that want to do more with their spending and work life, but you can see the point I am making. CSR should no longer be seen as a ‘nice thing to do’ it makes absolute and complete business sense. It helps to attract the best talent and also helps to build your profits…. and yes, I am using words like ‘profit’ and ‘good cause’ in the same sentence because the more profit you make, the more resources you have access to, to make a real and lasting change. Again…its win, win.
Now hopefully at this point I have convinced you that CSR is a necessity for businesses to stay relevant to consumers in the world today.
The next stage for you is understanding what CSR is in the context of YOUR business. It means different things to different people or sectors and for it to work, it needs to mean something to you. It’s then time to create a strategy to keep you on track to achieve your goals; Making sure you don’t forget to explore the right way of measuring the impact of the work you deliver. Trust me, you will want to know the difference you are making to your business and the causes you have aligned yourself to. This my friends is what we at the Aster Foundation can help you with. We would love to speak to you or your teams and help you to start your CSR revolution, just send me a message and we will share resources, knowledge and support. It really is that simple!
We look forward to working with you.