Corporate Social Responsibility, like many aspects of marketing, started life merely as a buzzword, a useful tool to enhance and polish a brand at a time when the world first began to acknowledge the importance of environmental and social concerns.
Fast forward to the world of today, a place where more people than ever are affected by uncertainty, inequality and a shared will to do something to elicit change, and suddenly CSR is much more than a useful marketing tool…
It is essential.
CSR marketing still plays a pivotal role in establishing a brand and building the right image, but now it can win business from an ever-growing, like-minded customer base who seeks a partner with the same ethos as theirs.
It can also inspire and motivate a workforce through formal CSR programmes, leading to increased morale and productivity, along with a fairer workplace.
Consumers and companies want to make a positive difference, both in the way they do business and the way they live their lives. If a company is to grow, then positioning itself to offer a better way to do those things is vital.
Corporate social responsibility falls broadly into four categories:
- Environmental responsibility – covering the use of sustainable resources, reducing pollution and emissions
- Human rights responsibility – encompassing factors such as equal pay, a fair living wage and good working conditions
- Economic responsibility – looking at sustainable working practices, embracing greener technology and operating a business ethically
- Philanthropic responsibility – including factors such as community projects, funding programs for awareness, education, health and charitable causes
There may not be one single, magic formula to convert a solid CSR policy into an actual financial return. Yet, evidence strongly suggests that companies who have one, see increased profitability, sales and ultimately, value.
And all those things are the seeds of growth…