Change for the better – the importance of CSR
(Posted on 08/07/21)
With several brands in the firing line recently for not upholding their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) principles, companies can’t expect to hide behind overblown promises of environmentalism or philanthropy.
Companies need to be seen to be doing something positive for society; whether it’s working towards being carbon neutral, benefitting the community, or developing and maintaining a positive work culture. With the power to implement positive change, companies have a moral responsibility to ensure that they can benefit the customer in the long-term, and this can be achieved by making the world a better place for all.
In fact, CSR is so important, not just to a company’s ethos, but also in securing loyal brand advocates. Millennials and Generation Z actively support brands which are having a positive impact on the world around them, thereby securing their custom through the future.
There are a multitude of initiatives which a company can adopt into their CSR. Some of the most wide-spread elements are:
Tree planting, rewilding, and using alternative energy sources and materials for products, are all ways in which a brand can embrace a greener way of doing business. With the vast global focus on the detriment of plastics to the environment, many companies are looking at more sustainable options.
One such company is LEGO. Built on the creation of small, colourful, plastic bricks, Lego has been experimenting with more environmentally-friendly ingredients, and has begun issuing new bricks made from recycled plastic bottles, and also bricks made entirely from sustainably sourced sugarcane. With the same look and feel as the original bricks, Lego plans to replace all of its products with this more eco material by 2030.
With one of LEGO’s key missions ‘to create a better, brighter world for our children to inherit’, there could be no more powerful way for the company to embrace and evolve its CSR principles in making a better future.
Diversity and equality:
Diversity in the workplace is the key to creativity and innovation. The importance should lie in the ability of the individual, and should not be based on looks or preferences. Embracing this equality should mean being treated fairly, but also being paid fairly too. Unfortunately, the pay gap between men and women is still showing discrepancies across all sectors, and the rate of cash flow is significantly larger the higher you are on the career ladder. However, one CEO decided to implement a radical change for the better.
Dan Price of Gravity Payments, having realised that many of his staff were struggling financially, worked out what would be needed for them to live happily and comfortably. Having earned $1.1m per year, he took a pay cut and placed himself and all of his employees on the same minimum wage salary – at $70,000 per year.
Six years later the business has never been more successful. Productivity has continued to increase, and his staff are happier and healthier, with a better work-life balance, and are more committed than ever to doing the best job that they can.
Companies don’t have to donate millions of pounds to charity to have a positive impact. This can still be achieved through the support of local sporting events or food banks, to even giving up time and volunteering for good causes (something which is becoming possible again as we emerge from lockdown).
Even aligning with a positive cause which has links to a brand can build social trust. An example of this is Starbucks partnering with Mermaids, one of the UK's leading LGBTQ+ charities, to raise awareness of and support trans rights. By selling mermaid tail cookies, with 50p from each sale donated to the Mermaid helpline, Starbucks has enabled the helpline to be open 9am-9pm. This was an ideal partnership, not only because the famed Starbucks logo is a mermaid, but also by helping make a difference to the lives of trans people.
A positive workplace:
Even before the pandemic, providing a positive place to work went far beyond just providing a water cooler in an office space. Companies which provided plenty of perks; from an on-site gym to days off on your birthday, were consistently more effective at staff retention, and also good for recruitment through employee advocacy.
However, with the world of work now a different place following Covid-19, companies are having to adapt to a displaced workforce. Some companies are either adapting to a fully working-from-home workforce, or offering a hybrid mix of their staff sometimes returning to the workplace and sometimes working from home. For other companies where this isn’t an option, protocols have had to be put into place to ensure the ongoing safety of their staff.
With this stressful period of transition, the mental health of employees has never been more important. Companies need to ensure the ongoing comfort and confidence of their staff, if and when, workplaces are returned to.
We are always striving to improve and expand our CSR, and support all of our clients’ positive achievements and initiatives. Speak to our team to see how we can help you to develop and promote your company’s CSR.