Did you hear about Apple’s headquarters that runs on 100% renewable energy? Did you know about Ben and Jerry’s efforts to improve the treatment of dairy cows and their focus on ethically sourced ingredients, or their campaign to get young people to register to vote? Are you aware of Nike’s “People, Planet, Play” initiatives that focus on diversity and inclusion, reducing carbon emissions, and getting kids more active. Did you know Force 5 supports local sustainable green initiatives?
Companies are using their power and platforms to help support social and environmental initiatives more than ever for a myriad of reasons. Regardless, these initiatives can be used to help gain and retain customers and investors.
What is a company’s CSR?
A company’s corporate social responsibility, or CSR, origins from the commitment to conducting a business in an ethical and responsible manner while also considering the impact of its activities on society and the environment. A company’s CSR can take many forms and initiatives. Some common types of CSR are a company’s commitment to environmental sustainability, ethical labor practices, social justice and inclusion, socially responsible investments, stakeholder engagement, and product responsibility.
A company could choose to invest in CSR vary based on location, industry, size, and social and environmental issues relevant to its operations. Some companies participate in CSR out of increased risk management, resource management, and energy reduction. This is often done to encourage better stakeholder interactions, better employee engagement, to gain a competitive advantage, or as part of their long-term sustainability goals.
Why should a company make their CSR efforts known?
“77% of consumers are motivated to purchase from companies committed to making the world a better place…”https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/corporate-social-responsibility-statistics
Customers are increasingly drawn to companies that project good CSR and invest in initiatives that are meaningful to them. Courtesy of the internet and social media, people are more informed about what a company stands for and is invested in– and can just as easily share that information, for better or worse.
What makes customers drawn to a company’s CSR?
Customers are drawn to companies that align with their values. Customers are aware of the social and environmental impact of their purchasing decisions more than ever, leading them to prefer companies that demonstrate a commitment to responsible business practices. Customers also perceive companies with good CSR as more reputable, caring, and socially conscious. These companies are seen as going beyond profit-making and actively contributing to society, enhancing their brand image and fostering increased customer loyalty and advocacy.
Companies with good CSR can provide customers with a sense of purpose. By supporting these companies, customers can feel they are contributing to positive change and emphasizing a difference in the world. Additionally, customers often associate good CSR practices with overall quality. They believe that companies focused on responsible business practices are more likely to deliver high-quality products or services, leading to increased customer satisfaction.
Social influence and peer connections are also influential factors, often forming from the good CSR reputation. Customers are more likely to choose and recommend products or services from such companies based on the recommendations of friends, family, or influencers who align with CSR values.
Most importantly, customers are attracted to brands with good CSR because their personal values align with the company’s initiatives. Sustainability, social justice, diversity, and other relevant issues are increasingly important to customers, and they appreciate when a company demonstrates a commitment to these values.
Lastly, companies that participate in CSR appear to have good transparency. This transparency builds trust with customers and assures them that the company is accountable for its actions and genuinely committed to making a positive impact.
If your company isn’t currently marketing its CSR efforts, you might be falling behind.
“Approximately 64% of CEOs plan to increase investments in CSR initiatives in the next three years.”https://blog.gitnux.com/corporate-social-responsibility-statistic
With increased public awareness and the untethered ability for consumers to choose who they want to do business with, it is a good idea to get on board and show them that your company is in alignment with their values and is in the business of doing good, not just for itself, but for society and the environment.