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More than the bottom line: How corporate social responsibility can help fix the world

The way companies practice corporate social responsibility has evolved over time to become more than just boosting their bottom line.




The world is broken, and a quick peek at the news or on the internet won’t prove otherwise. Because it is, and the modern world is so full of problems that it’s sometimes silly to think whether we can do anything to fix it at all or at least minimize the damage.

Luckily, we live in such a period where we are actually capable of doing something, and where an increasing number of companies are mixing philanthropy in their DNAs, taking much-needed action to fix whatever problem they can and set things right through what is called as corporate social responsibility (CSR).

But first of all, what is corporate social responsibility? And why now?

To sum it up in a few words, corporate social responsibility is simply a way for companies and corporate entities to be more aware and to take responsibility for the social and environmental impact their businesses create and/or leave behind. A solid and robust CSR program gives companies the opportunity to show how good their corporate citizenship is, and it can even help protect a company from any outsized risk.

Primarily driven by a changing workforce demographic who’s aware of the problems and wants to solve it, CSRs creates a filter of action for a company and makes sure that it’s both accountable and ethical. And with this current generation looking for companies that place importance on its people, the planet, and its revenue, it’s no surprise that more companies are taking significant steps to practice its social responsibility.

Corporate social responsibility as an advantage

Now, a corporate entity giving back to the community and environment as much as it can may sound like the perfect company for any job-seeking millennial, but can companies also use it to their advantage?

The short answer is yes. In fact, the better your CSR practices are, the better off you will be in the long run. For one thing, practicing CSR not only helps provide a lasting positive impact but also projects a good public image of your company. Furthermore, companies that often practice this get more media coverage, and in an age where every news can be accessed with a click, positive publicity is essential.

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Giving back doesn’t just generate positive PR for a company, it also helps the cause they are supporting. (Source)

Another benefit may be in the form of attracting more investors. Showing that your company is more than just making a profit will stand out in a portfolio and can easily reel in investors and partners.

It also helps improve employee management. Millennials, being value-based people, want to feel proud of the organization they work for, and an employee who feels positive about a company is more likely to stay than look for another job.

A strong CSR program can also mean satisfied customers. As per Forbes, a CSR-related study published last year revealed that 87 percent of its respondents said that they would be willing to buy a product or service based on a company’s advocacy concerning a social matter. It also revealed that 63 percent of American consumers are hoping that more businesses should take the lead on socioeconomic change, while 76 percent answered that they would not want to do business with a company if its values did not align with theirs. CSR attracts customers and brand loyalty, which will ultimately pay off.

Not just the bottom line

Moving forward, however, it is not, and will never be, the panacea to the world’s problems. What it can do, however, is act as a primary catalyst for change that will continue correcting mistakes further down the road. And what’s not to like about it? It provides better brand recognition, positive reputation, increased sales, operational cost savings, and even organizational growth. Not to mention that earning a profit while also giving back to society is easily a win-win situation. It combines sustainability and ethics, and works hand in hand with social responsibility practices.

Of course, corporate social responsibility can’t save the world on its own. If it were that easy, everything would be in tip-top shape now, and there would be no need for it anymore. Believe it or not, however, it can make a change, provided that enough people put it into action, both in heart and mind.

The world is in such a dire state. But thankfully, today, we are more than capable of doing something, and the perfect time to do it is now.

(Featured image by DepositPhotos)

Leah Marie Angelou is an LGBTI activist and equality advocate. She has been a writer for several feminism-focused groups for nearly a decade. Her pieces are often focused on career development and the workplace. She also regularly covers personal and micro-finance, business management and entrepreneurship. Recently she has also focused on covering the promising CBD and hemp industry.