As the Baby Boom generation moves on to retirement and Millennials increase their presence in the consuming world, more companies are including Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in their business plans. According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, CSR is “a continuing commitment of business to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large.”
Social Responsibility Can Impact Your Bottom Line
Believe it or not, many of your customers consider sustainability and responsibility when deciding who they’ll do business with.
We live in a capitalist system, so the biggest driver of CSR initiatives is profitability. As much as 30 percent of a company’s stock value is based on goodwill–its reputation. With the growing purchasing power of Millennials, many of whom care deeply about social responsibility, it makes good business sense to demonstrate a social conscience.
Millennials may not have yet reached the upper tiers of the corporate world where they can imprint their belief systems, but they are an influential force in the world of consumption. And in many parts of the country, Millennials aren’t the only ones who consider corporate responsibility in deciding where to spend their money.
Examples of How Companies Are Socially Responsible
One example of CSR is the use of pollution-lowering Compressed Natural Gas powered trucks in the transportation industry. Like-minded companies are converting their fleets while working with natural gas suppliers to develop distribution outlets to make CNG vehicle use more feasible for others. In turn, CSR oriented businesses in need of transportation services patronize those “green” transportation companies.
Other companies that practice CSR actually go so far as to threaten their own existence. Waste Management, the refuse collection giant, for example, recognizes sustainability efforts will eventually mean that landfills will no longer be the “go to” destination for waste. As CSR grows, manufacturers and retail outlets will collaborate with their suppliers and customers to reduce or eliminate waste that would go to a landfill. Waste Management, therefore, is adjusting its
business model and is now consulting with businesses to help them advance their sustainability efforts. It is, in effect, meeting the broad inference of its company name–Waste Management.
The Business Advantage of CSR
Businesses that practice social responsibility have an ever more advantageous leg up on their competitors. Socially conscious consumers will patronize them while avoiding businesses that do not practice CSR. And there is no offsetting converse effect. Consumers who are ambivalent about CSR will still patronize the socially responsible businesses because it makes no difference to them.
So if you haven’t begun to do so already, now is the time to ask how can your business be more socially responsible?