A business’s products or services certainly play big roles in company success, but without a positive public perception, there will not be enough interest for them to grow. The role of corporate social responsibility is extremely important. This is because positive public relations that emit high ethical standards and a charitable nature are likely to increase long-term profits, comparative to a business whose corporate social responsibility is lacking.
The reasons for increased profit and a more positive public perception are numerous, all owing to the innovation, competitive edge, general engagement and forward-thinking ideologies that strong corporate social responsibility provides. The ways in which corporate social responsibility benefits big business can be eye-opening to many business owners. They include:
Improved Relations With Shareholders
In its loose sense, shareholders can mean anyone who contributes a cent of their money and/or time to your business – customers, employees, suppliers, investors, regulatory agencies and more.
For customers, corporate social responsibility shows that you care. In an age where the term corporate coincides with a self-first and uncaring ideology, a business that shows it cares about the environment or charitable causes immediately becomes memorable. Similarly with employees, it’s more fulfilling to work for a business that cares about society, as opposed to one that only cares about its high-ranking employees.
Suppliers, investors and regulatory agencies are likely to put more trust in a business whose social responsibility appears to be strong. In addition to being aware of CSR’s benefits themselves, these parties can safely anticipate that a business showing great attentiveness to society and its public image is extremely unlikely to manipulate investors, suppliers or regulatory bodies. That company is perceived as wanting to evade negative press and maintain relationships that continue to stress mutual advancement.
Reduced Operating Costs
While the notion of more wide-spanning corporate social responsibility efforts may seem dauntingly price-prohibitive at first, it actually results in reduced operating costs in the long term. Equal employment opportunity (EEO) policies are one way to promote positive CSR activities. A policy like this improves employee morale and in turn reduces costs and risks, an attractive proposal to shareholders.
CSR efforts involving energy-saving is another example, as it can be a great way to show concern for the greater community while saving energy costs.
A survey among business executives found that 73 percent of respondents answered “cost savings” as a top reason for their business becoming more socially responsible. This shows that reduced costs are a statistical reality when CSR is implemented successfully, even if it’s on a smaller scale – like transitioning lighting in the office to eco-friendly counterparts like compact fluorescent bulbs.
When consumers see a product they’re interested in, many of them wonder – subconsciously or not – if they can get something similarly elsewhere. This is the case especially if they’re not aware of the business beyond the product. CSR is a wonderful way to get an edge on competition, by engraining a sense of positivity and generosity in the minds of consumers. Great CSR associates a business with social responsibility among consumers fairly quickly whenever they see that business’ products or services.
Perceived legitimacy goes hand-in-hand with positive public relations, as the latter can easily provide the former. There’s no stronger way for a company to shout its core values and goals than to show them in action, whether it’s by offering discounts to veterans or nonprofits, having employees spend time at a charity during the workday or donating to an energy-friendly cause.
While some businesses spend millions on advertising campaigns to make their brand recognizable, it won’t necessarily do much in terms of a positive or negative perception. Merely knowing the existence of something does not imply strong feelings on it. CSR, however, both promotes a business’s services/products while emphasizing its socially responsible goals and mission in a way that’s hard to forget.
Showing Off Long-Term Sustainability
Businesses obviously want to make money, so looking forward to the next quarter is sometimes the only foresight that can be accomplished. As a result, any business that visibly shows effort toward thinking ahead will come across well to shareholders as well as providing an edge over competitors. Showing concern for not just the business’s future, but that of society and shareholders as well, can be strongly accomplished with CSR.
In many ways, corporate social responsibility consists of ideas in action that promote long-term sustainability both in terms of company profits and public relations, from important shareholders to a single customer. The ways in which a business can pursue CSR are vast and diverse. Many ideas for social responsibility inspiration show that any business – regardless of niche – can put successful CSR campaigns in place to better their public image and make a genuinely positive difference in the world.
Megan is a sustainability advocate who writes about ways you can reduce your impact on the Earth on her blog, Your Wild Home.