Stories of companies neglecting the environment, mistreating their employees or misleading their customers are rife in today’s business world.
Corporations of all sizes are therefore coming under increasing scrutiny with regards to how their businesses activities are affecting society at large, and for good reason.
In light of numerous corporate scandals throughout the years, the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has sprung up and is steadily becoming an important facet of any business’s strategy.
Just what does CSR entail, though, and is it worth the extra investment in implementing it into your strategy?
What exactly is CSR?
Corporate social responsibility is a business philosophy that stresses the importance of keeping the best interests of the wider society in mind.
Although turning a profit every year and taking your business to new heights is likely to be your main goal, it is important to consider the societal impact you are having as well.
Perhaps one of the most well-known examples of companies taking a CSR approach is through donating a portion of their profits to a charity of choice, to prove to the public they are working towards the good of society as well as of the business.
However, corporate social responsibility isn’t just about picking a charity to donate to every year.
A CSR mindset should be ingrained into every fibre of your business, from reducing your fleet’s carbon footprint to ensuring the welfare of your global workforce and ensuring products are built to the high standards that consumers expect and deserve.
The benefits for your business
You may be wondering whether it’s worth all the effort. Does the typical consumer actually take note of and care about what CSR strategies companies are employing?
In turns out they do. According to a 2013 study by Ipsos Australia, eight out of ten Australians believe that corporate social responsibility is important.
Additionally, 77 per cent of respondents thought that companies should be doing more to contribute to society.
It’s clear to see that the modern consumer expects businesses to take a CSR approach, and the benefits of doing so are manyfold.
One of the strongest arguments for adopting CSR into your wider business strategy is the boost it brings to your organisation’s brand image and reputation.
A good public image is a crucial marketing asset and its importance just cannot be underestimated.
In turn, this can lead to increased customer loyalty and sales. One of the findings from the Ipsos study was that 76 per cent of Australians said corporate social responsibility was an important factor when it came to making a purchase decision.
Corporate social responsibility isn’t just beneficial in maintaining a strong relationship with your customer base, however.
One of the tenets of CSR is that the interests of all stakeholders in the business are taken care of, and this includes one of your company’s most important assets – your staff.
Having an effective and transparent CSR strategy in place has been consistently linked with increased employee satisfaction, productivity and retention.
There is no denying that in today’s business world, those that look outside the sphere of their organisation and consider its social impacts are the ones that succeed.
If you’d like an insight into how other Australasian businesses are upholding their integrity while recording successful businesses results, you might want to consider joining an executive leadership program.