Boost Your Business Via Social Responsibility

By Sebastian Troup

It may truly be challenging for companies these days to make changes in the business in order to shift to a more socially and environmentally responsible kind when doing more with less is often expected. However still many resolve to do "good" and be proud of it in the workplace as return on the investment becomes visible. In truth, social responsibility adds to the company's result thus cause the difference in the community.

When a company goes beyond the call for adhering to ethical and legal standards in its operations, then that is what you call corporate social responsibility or CSR. Causes are being promoted whether on the local, national or global level. It may be achieved via corporate philanthropy or donating some of the business profits or resources to charity.

You can enjoy the competitive advantages through your giving program that is well-designed and executed well and these are:

Improving name recognition Boosting brand reputation among consumers Increasing sales and positive consumer sentiment Assisting in efforts to recruit and retain talented employees for your company Improving the quality of life in communities where you do business

Research shows more consumers are basing their buying decisions on corporate social responsibility. A study earlier this year by public relations and marketing firm Cone Communications and Echo Research revealed 90 percent of shoppers worldwide are likely to switch to brands that support a good cause, given similar price and quality. The study also shows businesses that aren't socially responsible run the risk of losing customers. Again, 90 percent of the shoppers surveyed would boycott companies if they found the firms engaged in irresponsible business practices.

This study is just the latest that shows companies should care about social responsibility because their customers do. It's no longer enough just to sell a good product or service. Consumers are expecting more from businesses, including real, meaningful social impact. It appears business owners are listening to these demands. Rather than tacking philanthropy onto the Public Relations department as an afterthought, more companies are trying to integrate corporate social responsibility throughout all of their operations. That commitment is showing through in the kind of jobs provided, kinds of products made, and the ways in which resources are used.

You see, CSR these days are looked at by companies as long-term investment rather than mere marketing moves. Coca-Cola in its 5 x 20 program presents a clear example where it aims to give opportunities to five million women in the developing world to become local bottlers and distributors of Coca-Cola products by 2020. These young women entrepreneurs are being empowered to act as investments as they can generate more sales after gaining them as additional bottlers capable of selling more products. This move will also cause better-educated people to become apparent and eventually turn communities in need of help into more prosperous ones.

CSR is being looked at by some companies as means to save money too. A good example is energy efficiency. On the social responsibility policy of Wal-Mart, it has three goals being - having a full supply of renewable energy, creating zero waste, and sales of products able to sustain people along with the environment. Maybe it appears that these goals are quite lofty, but when achieved, ultimately this translates into savings for the company.

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