Sometimes, businesses have to focus on more than the bottom line. When the survivability and profitability of the business are secured, then it’s time to start looking at the other roles your business is supposed to play. Businesses that grow beyond a single office are often expected to fulfill a role in enhancing society and their environment, as opposed to harming it. This is what corporate social responsibility is all about.
Here, we’re going to look at ways that your business can manage its own.
Nail Down Your Ethics
A lot of businesses approach corporate social responsibility from the angle of “what causes can we champion and embody in our work” or “what campaigns can we promote and run,” but this is putting the cart before the horse. Before thinking about what you can do, think about what you stand for, first and foremost. What is your business code of ethics? Take the time to put together a document that outlines your stances on issues that you want to tackle, from the environment to customer service to employee respect to diversity, and so on. You can even take this a step further, enshrining these ethics in a series of social and environmental goals that are implemented in any governance documents or business plans.
Start Making the Move Towards Sustainability
The news regarding climate is dire, as it has been for a while, but now people are starting to feel the effects of it. As such, it’s no surprise that how we use the resources at our disposal is amongst the chief concerns that businesses are being pressed on to improve. To that end, you should look at the ways you can help your business become more sustainable. One of the best ways to do this is to work with a sustainability consultancy that can look at how your business operates from top to bottom, pinpointing the parts that are the most wasteful and, in turn, making recommendations on how you can fix it. In the end, sustainability tends to be more cost-effective, too.
But Avoid Greenwashing
While committing to protecting the environment, through your workplace practices, your production methods, and the supplier partnerships that you have is all well and good, you should be careful to avoid the risk of greenwashing. It’s not uncommon for businesses that are making moves towards sustainability and more ethical practices to be loud about those practices (and you should be.) However, you should avoid any marketing, advertising, or communications that could be seen as manipulative or exaggerations of the steps that your business is actually taking. Keep any marketing or communications about your efforts as realistic and grounded as you can, or else you could see a backlash from your customers in response to perceived greenwashing.
Think About the Place Inclusivity Has in Your Workplace
Another issue that has become much more prevalent as of late is the notion of privilege (or the lack thereof) that many groups of people have in the working world. While there are laws that prevent out-and-out discrimination in the workplace, there are still plenty of cases where it happens and, more so, systemic ways that people from vulnerable or minority groups get looked over, dismissed, or exploited that don’t technically fit the definitions of discrimination. To that end, building a more inclusive workplace often means looking at the ways that your business can address these often hidden systemic issues. This can include initiatives to prioritize groups that are often de-emphasized, as well smaller efforts, such as making more inclusive language normal in the workplace.
Consider the Condition of Your Workers
There is a growing discontentment in the labor force in the developed nations of the world. While your business might not be able to address the wealth divide that has only continued to get bigger, you can make sure that your business is not seen as part of the problem. Aside from giving your team fair and proper compensation, you should also make sure that you are caring for their needs at the workplace. Creating a positive working environment for your team that focuses on fulfilling their needs can help you create a team that is much more likely to speak positively of your business and to help improve its image as a company.
Help Spread the Word of Causes That Matter to You
Aside from thinking about the causes and ethics that are important to you and your team, you should also think about what you can do to help towards the goals of those causes. One of the most popular methods of doing this, largely because it’s one of the least costly, is to invest in cause marketing. Your business might have the platform and reach that a nonprofit organization in your area could benefit from. Using your social media, PR contacts, and other advertising revenues, you could help to highlight a fundraiser or project they have running or even a collaborative project with them.
Involve Yourself Directly in Community Projects
Some businesses, such as those that are run online, using remote employees, might not have much of a tie to a specific geographic location. For the rest, however, the community is a vital part of the business, largely in part due to the fact that it includes many of your consumers, your suppliers, partners, and your employees. To that end, you should consider looking at the role you have in that community, not just as a provider of jobs, goods, and services, but as an institution. To that end, you may want to consider, for instance, the local charities that you can get involved with, whether it’s through direct contribution, fundraisers, donating part of the earnings as part of a specific product campaign, or otherwise.
Help Your Employees Contribute to the Causes That Matter to Them
There are plenty of ways that you can directly use the resources at the disposal of your company to help causes and non-profit organizations. However, a lot of companies have seen success not only in fulfilling their own corporate social responsibility but also in helping employees feel valued and like their own views and ethics matter by incentivizing and better enabling them to contribute to causes that matter to them. T that end, you may be able to offer volunteer days to your employees, to the point that you can even use volunteer systems to make sure that each employee has the right amount of days and are able to log how and when they are used.
The Benefits of Fulfilling Your Corporate Social Responsibility
With a populace that is becoming more conscious of the myriad societal problems that need addressing on a systemic level, including not just consumers, but workers and investors, too, there is a lot of good reasons to consider your business’s responsibilities and what you can do to meet them. Meeting your corporate social responsibility can help you better reach customers, showing that you stand by the same ethics as they do, positioning yourself as a business worth supporting over the competitors. Similarly, the most talented and qualified employees who have their pick of workplaces tend to look for a cultural fit, not just a good salary and, as such, are more likely to consider those businesses that fit their ethics.
Hopefully, the points above show why it can be important to live up to the responsibility that your consumers, employees, and partners may expect of you, as well as some of the ways you can do that.