Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) allows businesses large and small to contribute towards positive change in the wider community. When companies choose to do what is right, not only for their bottom line but also for society as a whole, they benefit themselves and build trust with consumers.
Consumers feel that, when they use a product or service of a socially responsible company, they are playing their part in building a positive society. The more socially responsible the company, the more supportive the wider community and their consumers become.
Corporate social responsibility helps to build trust, raise awareness and encourages social change. Although there are tens of thousands of companies doing their bit, large global corporations’ efforts can have far-reaching results that can impact on major world issues - from hunger and health to global warming.
Here is a short blog about the power of CSR.
What is Corporate Social Responsibility?
CSR is a self-regulated business model created by an organization to support the wider community they operate in and, often, society as a whole.
There are a variety of definitions of CSR due to the different perspectives that may be represented. An entrepreneur may define CSR as a business strategy, while a governmental functionary may view it as a voluntary regulation. CSR entails that companies take on responsibility for business ecosystems and/or social and environmental problems. Some of the most common examples include:
- Socially and environmentally conscious investments
- Climate change
- Improving labour conditions
- Charitable giving
CSR aims to ensure that the companies, at the very least, avoid exacerbating issues they have identified that are important to them and to society. Entrepreneurs, taking CSR to the next level, will strive to contribute towards solving these problems.
Examples of CSR in Action
The founder of tech firm Atlassian encouraged his 3,500 staff to skip work to take part in a global strike on September 20, 2019, for climate change action (Mail Online, 2019).
The firm’s co-founder, Mike Cannon-Brookes, stated that companies shared the responsibility for the impact of climate change and should use their large platforms to advocate for proper climate policy. He said that we cannot rely on the government to effectively address climate change.
This is a social enterprise co-founded by our own Trinnovo Group CEO, Ashley Lawrence to tackle the often-difficult transition of the ex-military to careers on Civvy Street. It aims to build partnerships with training and other providers, offering holistic support to ex-military personnel. Using this model, the focus shifts from the traditional donor/recipient relationship to one of a respectful partnership, empowering servicemen and women through meaningful employment.
3. Netflix & Spotify
Spearheading workplace change, companies such as Netflix and Spotify offer benefits to support employees and families. Netflix offers 52 weeks of paid parental leave, which can be taken at any time whether it is the first year of the child's life or another time that suits their needs. This compares to 18 weeks at other tech companies. Spotify offers a similar program, although for a shorter duration of 24 weeks of paid leave (The Guardian, 2015).
This list is just a small illustration of the way’s companies are developing corporate social responsibility policies to build and reinforce social change and quality of life.
Millennials want to see more Corporate Social Responsibility
With more entrepreneurial start-ups, staffed by millennials, popping up all over the globe, the power of social responsibility is becoming even-more important. For millennials, they believe companies should be investing in improving society and looking for solutions that will assist in making those improvements a reality. Millennials want to take part in CSR initiatives, such as participation in voluntary work or making donations towards a company’s charitable efforts.
Companies should share how they are trying to make a positive impact in the world, so the public can see their pro-social initiatives and identify with them. Increasingly, as more companies begin to see the impact their social and environmental efforts have on their consumers – and staff -, it will inspire others to join them, to begin their own initiatives.
Leading by example:
How we support the planet, our employees, customers, and communities:
As a high growth start-up employer, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is very important to us – we’re committed to ethical and sustainable business practices. This means we actively take account of our social, economic and environmental impact. CSR is good for the planet, our employees, customers, and communities and we have a CSR ambassador specifically to support, co-ordinate and innovate our CSR initiatives.
Origins of our CSR
In 2017, we formalized our CSR strategy. Our aim was to bring together and recognize the range of CSR activities we were already doing as well as detailing future commitments, under each of the main strands outlined. We wanted to reflect our CSR commitment – to show how we are contributing to sustainable development, adopting and maintaining behaviors that reflect our core business values and giving back to society as a whole.
Our CSR today
Since 2017, we’ve raised over £50,000 for charity, reduced our carbon footprint and have been nominated for Social Enterprise of the Year (Ex-Military Careers) at the National Business Awards. We have also been recognized for our CSR commitment to staff with numerous awards including at first application Gold Accreditation (for three years) from Investors in People.
Our CSR activities have grown significantly over the last two years, including increasing our volunteer days from 3 to 5 days which means every employee now gets 5 days a year – paid - to go out and support local projects and charities. We also have CSR ‘ambassadors’ across the organization, who help to set up and run various community projects.
Some of our current team volunteer days include:
- London Food Bank
- Street League Football
- Battersea Dogs Home
Positive CSR is empowering, exciting and promotes change across society. We love it!
What are your thoughts on CSR? Do you feel enough is being done to tackle issues - wherever they are found – worldwide, in your own community or sitting behind your desk?
Feel free to share examples of what your company is doing to promote CSR – we’d love to hear from you.