Opportunity or Distraction?
Whether we like it or not, customers’ environmental and social awareness is having an increasing effect on business across multiple industries. Experts point to the explosion in use of social media as one of the main causes of this increase in environmental and social awareness. Through social media, customers mass communicate across global borders. Thereby, they are gaining knowledge of businesses processes. In this digital age, there is really nowhere for a company to hide. A lack of social and environmental sustainability can, therefore, have detrimental effects on a brand’s reputation. Furthermore, employees are increasingly looking to work for companies with core values that match their own. Therefore there is no way around it – Corporate Social Responsibility is here to stay. The plus side to this is that correct CSR management, can bring with it incredible opportunities.
The question is: How do you embrace CSR in a way that both benefits your company and satisfies all your stakeholders? Firstly it is important to understand what CSR entails. This can actually best be explained by stating what it is not. It is not a PR stunt. CSR is not a question of launching another environmental campaign or recycling project and it is more than just compliance to current government legislation. Savvy customers cannot be fooled by empty talk. It is not simply a question of making donations to charity. As with so many aspects of life – when it comes to CSR – actions speak louder than words. Lack of action can in turn cause negative awareness which will damage your brand and potential cause your company to loose profit.
CSR is also not a question of choosing environmental and social responsibility over your company’s financial sustainability. It is a question of implementing long-term lasting solutions that will help you grow your business, maximise your profit, benefit your surrounding society and protecting the environment. When implemented correctly CSR is not an obstacle but a means to further the success of your company. The trick is to look at CSR as an integral part of all business practices and not as yet another task. True CSR is intertwined with every process of the business activity, from CEO to junior employee, from the informal meeting over coffee, to the final product is in a customer’s hand. CSR in its true form is ethical, built on respect for people, communities and the natural environment. CSR is sustainable, focusing on objectives and goals that your business can maintain despite business fortune. CSR builds pride within the business and the wider community. It leaves a positive legacy.
CSR can help you gain a long-term focus and think of new and creative ways to create value – both for your business, your stakeholders and society as a whole.