Submitted by Jonathan Deesing
In order to stay appealing and relevant, businesses must adapt to customer wants and needs; companies that go above and beyond are the ones consumers want to support. When businesses practice Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), they are more likely to appeal to customers.
Even if your company has already mastered CSR, encouraging it throughout your industry is a great way to make a larger difference. Here are three ways you can impact other companies in your sector:
1. Source Responsible Materials
Responsibly sourced materials are environmentally friendly and support worker rights. Consumers don’t just care about a company’s ethics—they care about where its supplies come from, too. Your company can use its purchasing power to partner only with businesses willing to provide responsible labor and materials. Suppliers who want your company’s business may consider reevaluating how they source their products.
These are just a few of the types of responsibly sourced materials that CSR-focused companies should use.
2. Host Joint Fund-Raising Events
Corporate philanthropy is popular among businesses that pursue CSR, and every community has many local nonprofit organizations and programs that need support. When you put together a joint fundraising event, you can positively influence other companies in your community to take a stand for a worthy cause and gain some notable publicity in the process.
Find another company in your industry that would likely support the same nonprofit as your business and consider partnering to raise funds for the organization. Make sure to take a measured approach to any nonprofit you’re considering supporting – choosing the right one is essential to getting other companies on board.
Industry-Relevant Nonprofits: Your business may want to support a nonprofit that relates to its products or services. For example, Microsoft offers important technology to nonprofits.
Community Interest: Most communities have multiple nonprofits that serve different purposes and there are national and global organizations for many causes, from education to the arts. Think about what your customers find important, and consider supporting those efforts.
3. Start Socially Responsible Industry Organizations
Founding industry organizations with socially responsible goals is a great way to help other companies learn about and adhere to CSR standards. The organization you create can help other companies make small, comfortable changes—like implementing energy-saving behaviors—and eventually move on to bigger measures. If you decide to start a CSR-related industry organization, it’s important to retain a focus on areas where you can leave a lasting impact.
Environmental Sustainability: Things like recycling and waste management are easy measures for most businesses to implement, but knowing where to find green vendors and renewable materials can be tricky. Your organization can compile relevant industry resources to help businesses learn how to implement these strategies.
Community Involvement: There are many ways businesses can get involved with their local communities, including incentivizing employees to volunteer, buying locally, and donating to nonprofits. Your industry organization should discuss local opportunities and community needs, and the ways companies can help serve them.
Ethical Marketing: Consumers don't like it when companies make false claims about their products or other companies. The businesses that join your organization can learn how to market their products truthfully while still positioning themselves as experts. This will help them build rapport and reputation with their customer base.
Why CSR Is Good for Companies and Communities
Socially responsible businesses create trust among shareholders and consumers because they show dedication to the well-being of buyers, investors, employees, and communities. Consumers need a reason to buy from a company, and they’re likely to support the ones that care about more than just money. CSR actions promote fair labor practices, encourage sustainability, and support local businesses. These practices can also help create stronger brand name recognition and reputation, which leads to increased corporate economic value.
Companies that value CSR may also have an easier time finding younger talent, as millennials want to work for companies that value environmentally responsible and ethical behavior. When they see a company’s efforts to promote the greater good, they're more likely to work for and remain at that company.
The above tips are just a few of the many ways you can help create an environment of social responsibility in your industry. By helping other companies in your industry implement these and other CSR strategies, you’re already giving back.