The Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

18th September 2019

Alexandra Bond

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The idea that corporations should respect human rights and the environment has been around for a long time. Over the past decade, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has, in some instances, become a mandatory corporate activity.

There already are mandatory CSR reporting requirements in several countries, including Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, France, and Australia.

Going one large step further, India is the first country in the world to make CSR mandatory – businesses can invest their profits in areas such as education, poverty, gender equality, and hunger.

We have explored CSR previously on our blog – it’s a hot topic that deserves the attention it receives. CSR promotes change and progress throughout the world, often helping people with little or no resources.

Find out what CSR is in our recent blog.

This blog is looking into the benefits of CSR and why it is so important.

The reason for CSR

CSR ensures that companies conduct their business in a way that is ethical. This means taking account of their social, economic and environmental impact, and consideration of human rights.

It can involve a range of activities such as working in partnership with local communities.

The need for Corporate Social Responsibility in your organisation

CSR initiatives prove that an organisation gives back to the community. It’s also an opportunity to showcase your organisation’s mission and vision. Those core values will make you a valued organisation and trusted by your employees and your customers.

Organisations need to understand that CSR affects their internal and external growth.  It is key to employee engagement, and can contribute to increased productivity sales, customer loyalty, and brand awareness.

Attract, retain and engage employees through CSR

A commitment to CSR is no longer optional, young people on the start of their career paths are demanding more from potential employers. A positive culture, ethics and social outlook is key if your organisation wants to attract and retain top talent.

A recent study by Accenture states that 59% of graduates would trade a higher salary for a positive social atmosphere. 52% are willing to trade a measure of personal compensation to work at an organisation with a commitment to the environment or the social impact in their local community or through their products and services.

Volunteering opportunities

volunteering

Giving your employees opportunities to volunteer creates a sense of community within your organisation, as well as a connection to the surrounding community.

If your employees feel respected and supported in their jobs, they are likely to be more productive and satisfied at work. The more engaged and invested they are in your organisation, and the greater community, the more productive they will be.

In fact, companies with highly engaged employees saw increased business profitability. What could be better than happy employees promoting your brand while helping their community?

CSR initiatives can encourage your employees to try new things and get re-energised about their jobs.

Through social involvement, employees feel empowered to start contributing to the bigger picture. They might come up with new ideas about products or internal processes or innovate new problem-solving solutions.

When you demonstrate your company’s values and passions through community giving, employees will feel encouraged (and supported) to develop new and better ways to do their jobs. The happier your employees are, the lower your turnover is likely to be. And turnover is expensive.

CSR employee engagement here at Groop

At Groop, we all volunteer in our local communities; from running sports clubs, parent groups, and volunteering on school associations, to litter picking, volunteering at steam fairs and running festivals.

Check out some of our Meet the Team blogs to find out more.

Our years of experience is why we built Groop. We all do what you do. We understand volunteering and managing groups and organisations on the ground up to a strategic level, and this all feeds into our design of the product, making it easy to use and hugely time saving.

Increase sales and customer loyalty

CSR is equally important for your sales; consumers are drawn to organisations who have a good reputation. Research shows that the majority of consumers are prepared to pay a higher price for products they deem to be socially responsible.

Consumers today are savvier than they used to be about CSR. They are doing their homework, learning what it means to be socially responsible, and assessing a brand’s commitment.

I know I’ve changed my thought processes in the last ten years regarding environmental responsibilities, and this affects my buying habits. I won’t go to the shops without a reusable bag, I won’t buy from an organisation who doesn’t farm responsibly, or one who packages everything in plastic.

CSR helps create a responsible business reputation, which leads to a competitive advantage. Customers want to align with responsible organisations, many now insist on it.

Cost saving

Starbucks - environmentally friendly

When you reduce use – resource, waste and emissions – you can help the environment in addition to reducing costs to your business. An environmental policy is a ‘must have’ policy to focus on energy use, water use, waste management, recycling and emissions.

At Groop if you want something printed, it has to be cleared with the office manager as there is little or no need to print anything today.

An environmental policy should include company business travel arrangements too.

Ask yourself before travelling, is it essential to be at a meeting or could it be conducted online? Doing your bit for the environment also saves on spending.

Organisations can improve their reputation among customers, suppliers, potential employees, and insurers who may want to be sure that you take your environmental responsibilities seriously. You may also boost the morale of existing staff.

At Groop, we developed our online community management platform to save time, money, and resources. Making it easier for staff and volunteers everywhere to work and communicate, even when they can’t be together.

The ethical and environmental activities are endless and as individual as your organisation is.

Improve public image

In today’s digital era, companies that demonstrate CSR are gaining exposure, and praise. Your brand’s reputation can only benefit from being a positive force within your community.

The community benefits, consumers feel good and employees are proud knowing they are contributing to a socially responsible organisation.

Your brand ambassadors will organically grow from your pool of energised staff, satisfied customers, and the community you impact. This in turn will bring positive media attention and continued organisational growth.

When your organisation has a positive public image with sound social and environmental policies, you may also find it easier to attract investors who are more likely to back a reputable organisation.

Waitrose refills

Trust and reputation

CSR matters because companies typically have great resources to enact real, positive change – beyond the satisfaction of knowing you are bettering the world CSR has a great deal to do with reputation and trust too.

So, highlight your CSR – share your positive impact. Communicate it well and you will maximise the benefits. Customers love to support brands that do good and all the positive press will help build an unshakable online reputation for your brand.

Are you a volunteer or run a CSR initiative?

Find out more about how to move ahead with your volunteering plan or strategy by coming along to our conference:

NEW APPROACHES TO VOLUNTEERING – DISRUPT INNOVATE CHANGE

It takes place on 21st November 2019 at Baden-Powell House, London.

Use the code GRJO10 to receive 10% off your tickets.


This blog was written by:

Alex Bond