If you’re wondering why there seems to be increasing focus on the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR), look no further than today’s consumers. According to a recent article published in Business News Daily, these potential customers are looking beyond material products or quality services when selecting a company. How products are made (or services rendered) is often more important than what is being offered.
Defining exactly what goes into CSR is a bit subjective, though there are some recurring themes. Specific types of corporate social responsibility can vary from company to company, but the article points to four broad categories:
- Environmental efforts
- Ethical labor practices
From the article:
"Ethical labor and volunteering are no-brainers—consumers and partners want to hear that a business is building something more than just revenues. Even modest steps such as 'open door days' can be a great way to build links to your community and reflect that you aim to make valuable, long term impact."
The article says the “face of consumerism” has changed now that millennials hold a majority of buying power. These buyers are looking for greater transparency into the companies with which they choose to do business, and gravitate not to major brand names but to products with ties to socially-conscious causes.
According to the article, that’s precisely why CSR should matter to all businesses—stakeholders (such as investors, customers, and potential employees) want to see and understand that a company’s mission goes beyond generating revenue.
Also from the article:
"More practically, [CSR] often represents the policies, practices and initiatives a company commits to in order to govern themselves with honesty and transparency and have a positive impact on social and environmental wellbeing."
Given their magnitude, corporations adopting CSR practices can play a profound part in solving social and environmental problems. In this way, corporate social responsibility benefits business, society and ultimately the world.