66% of consumers worldwide are willing to pay more for a product or service that’s sustainable.
In the context of the green movement, providing sustainable products and services can bring you more business. But did you know that practicing social responsibility in business means more than sustainability?
Large and small businesses alike can benefit from adopting corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices. To reap those benefits, you should understand what CSR is and how it affects your company.
To learn more about that as well as ways you can start implementing CSR today, keep reading.
Practicing CSR means ethical business practices. It means that organizations and businesses can be held accountable for how their practices, beliefs, and profits are used to effect social change.
Companies practicing CSR take responsibility for how they impact the society and environment in which they operate. When a business chooses to incorporate CSR into their practices, they demonstrate good corporate citizenship.
This not only has a positive effect on society and the environment, but it also insulates a company from public backlash for poor business practice.
CSR is a relatively new concept. While it has existed for some time, it used to be thought of as something that’s only implemented in the wake of public reaction or scandal.
But today, implementing CSR as part of everyday operations is far more important. In fact, 63% of US consumers are looking at businesses to lead the way in social and environmental change. Furthermore, 78% of American consumers are asking companies to address issues of social justice.
This is why more and more companies are adopting CSR as part of their company culture. But CSR isn’t a one-time deal. It requires constant and active maintenance.
If the fact that over 50% of American consumers want you to initiate CSR isn’t convincing enough, consider these other reasons why you should care about social responsibility in business.
Incorporating CSR into your business operations is going to bring you more and better talent. The upcoming generation of employees is more socially and environmentally conscious than those that came before them. They seek employment with companies that focus on the triple p’s: people, planet, and profit.
Being socially responsible is, therefore, an excellent recruitment tool. In one study, 70% of people aged 18-26 stated that they’re more likely to work at a company that’s committed to helping their community.
There is a growing consumer demand that companies operate with social responsibility. It follows that both small businesses and large corporations can benefit financially from CSR. When you’re one of the few in your industry practicing CSR, it gives you a competitive advantage over your competition and drives sales.
The numbers back that fact up:
By practicing social responsibility in business, you can relate to your customers. They’ll be more enticed to buy from you than a competitor that isn’t practicing CSR. And that means that you make more money.
Another way in which CSR helps grow your revenues is by creating new customers while being responsible. Part of many CSR plans involves empowering the poorest people domestically and abroad. By giving them job opportunities, you’re creating social change but also an entirely new consumer base.
The statistics tell us that consumers are moving away from businesses that aren’t socially responsible. But ignoring CSR not only damages your bottom line, but it can also damage your reputation.
In the digital era, consumers can’t find out anything they want about your company online. Scandals spread quickly and there’s tons of information out there that could possibly damage your reputation. They can search out your records and labor practices, for example.
When consumers find something they don’t like, they may take to sharing on social media and other online platforms to spread the word. This can end up harming your reputation. With a reputation for unethical practices and a growing demand for CSR, this can impact your growth and success.
Trust is perhaps the most complex and important relationship you have with your customers. If you’re transparent and honest with the public, they’ll trust your brand and are more likely to buy your product or service. But if you lose that trust as a result of unethical business operations, you’ll have a hard time gaining it back.
Being socially responsible doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture. Consider starting small with some of these practices and watch your consumer base grow.
But don’t forget the importance of good marketing in spreading the word about your efforts. For more on that, check out this marketing advice.
Regardless of the size of a business, all organizations have a carbon footprint. A big part of social responsibility in business is taking steps to reduce your environmental impact. This can be as simple as properly disposing of waste materials to using recyclable packaging.
One way to impact society is to share your profits with people and organizations who need it. Many companies share 10% of their profits with charity. But you might also consider donating products and services to social causes as well.
While larger companies have an advantage when it comes to donating profits, any contribution demonstrates to your consumer base that you’re invested in social change.
Creating a volunteer program says that you believe in social responsibility in business. It’s a very clear indication that you’re trying to do good with your resources.
But it also acts as a recruitment tool. It tells prospective employees that they’ll have an opportunity to support their community while they work there.
Social responsibility in business is no longer an option. For businesses that want to grow and appeal to today’s consumer base, they need to incorporate social responsibility into their operations.
This will not only contribute to revenue, but it will also protect reputations and help recruit the next generation of talent.
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