corporate social responsibilityCorporate social responsibility (CSR) is an important concept for every business to consider in 2022. Over the past decade, many companies have adopted socially responsible policies. One report found that 92% of S&P 500 companies published reports charting their efforts related to CSR and sustainability in 2020. That figure was less than 20% in 2011, indicating huge growth in this area. In addition to helping the community through beneficial services and products, this approach also serves as a powerful marketing strategy and brand differentiator.

Large businesses aren’t the only ones benefiting from creating a corporate social responsibility platform. Many small and mid-sized companies have found creative ways to adopt a socially responsible approach to positively impact others in ways that go beyond jobs or service creation.

During a recent Green Apple Lunch & Learn, our very own Olivia Cooper shared her thoughts on the importance of corporate social responsibility platforms. Here are a few interesting insights she shared that might be helpful for your business to consider this year.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Essentially, corporate social responsibility is a concept in which businesses value activities that benefit society on a local, national, or global scale. It’s an approach in which businesses are equally concerned about bettering society as much as they are profitability and other business functions.

Approaching business with a socially responsible mindset has become an important priority for many of today’s consumers, investors, and employees. According to this Aflac survey, 70% of Americans believe it’s either “somewhat” or “very important” for companies to make the world a better place, while just 37% believe it’s most important for a company to make money for shareholders. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why every business owner and marketing manager could make the case for integrating corporate social responsibility.  

Why is Social Responsibility Relevant for Marketing Your Business?

Here are a few specific ways a corporate social responsibility platform can impact your marketing efforts: 

  • CSR can help you recruit and retain top talent. 

Attracting talented and motivated people is essential for your bottom line. A CSR strategy shows a company is compassionate and treats all people, including employees, well. 

A survey of nearly 25,000 people aged 18-35 revealed that 40% believe making an impact is one of the most important criteria they consider when choosing a career opportunity, and 55% of employees would choose to work for a socially responsible company, even if it meant a lower salary. 

  • CSR can help attract investors. 

Corporate social responsibility has become an increasing priority for investors as well. 73% of investors state that efforts to improve the environment and society contribute to their investment decisions. 41% of Millennial investors put significant effort into researching a company’s role in improving society and the environment before deciding to invest.

  • CSR shows consumers you care.

A CSR strategy can help you improve your reputation with consumers — earning their trust and loyalty. According to a 2015 survey by Nielsen, more than 50% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product or service if the business prioritizes sustainability.

Consumers admire businesses that take positive steps toward improving the world. A commitment to corporate social responsibility might earn their trust and attention over another business offering similar products or services. 

How to Create a Social Responsibility Platform that Works for Your Business

Being socially responsible can mean a lot of different things for various businesses. If you’re interested, here are a few ways you can adopt a social responsibility platform:

  • Ethical Responsibility — This approach is committed to the ethical treatment of all stakeholders, including leadership, employees, investors, and suppliers. ABLE is a local business here in Nashville that is one of our favorite examples. 
  • Economic Responsibility — This approach isn’t about maximizing profits. Instead, it’s about positively impacting whoever is most important to your business.
  • Philanthropic Responsibility — This is a corporate responsibility platform that is built on using profits or business functions to make the world a better place. TOMS shoes has been a long-time example of this type of social responsibility. 
  • Environmental Responsibility — This is a commitment to positively impacting the world by adopting an environmentally-friendly and sustainable approach to business. Blueland is one of our favorite eco-friendly brands making a difference in the world.

Not everyone needs a social responsibility platform, but it’s an important concept to consider for your brand. Finding a way to incorporate social responsibility into your business has the potential to completely transform your business (and the lives of others) for years to come.