Companies use Corporate Social Responsibility to analyze their impact on society a whole. This includes their environmental, social and philanthropic impact. Below are examples of Corporate Social Responsibility companies use to make an impact that stretches further than their bottom line.
1. Building green office spaces
Commercial buildings use a lot of energy and require constant upkeep. The most environmentally conscious companies invest in making their infrastructure as eco-friendly as possible by using sustainable building materials.
2. Improving current infrastructure
Companies are constantly updating their current buildings to reduce energy consumption. Examples include, retrofitting lights to LED, updating HVAC systems and implementing automatic sun control and shading devices.
3. Reducing water consumption
Water saving technologies such as flow fixtures and water recycling/reuse systems help decrease water pollution and scarcity. Companies are becoming more aware of their water consumption and are implementing efficient practices to reduce it.
4. Avoiding food waste
Larger companies such as Google prevent food waste by using data to track usage and make adjustments in real time. Smaller companies might not have the means to employ this data driven approach. However, they can still avoid food waste by setting up programs to donate or compost leftover food.
5. Making a plan to reduce the carbon footprint
Reducing a company's carbon footprint requires a dedicated plan. Carbon emissions can be reduced through IT initiatives such as green web hosting and developing a carbon neutral cloud like Salesforce has.
6. Encouraging environmentally friendly commutes
Environmentally friendly commuting practices such as using public transportation, biking to work or car sharing reduces emissions and pollution. Some companies, such as Apple, go as far as offering shuttle buses to assist in getting their employees to work. However, not all companies need to provide transportation for their employees. Setting up incentives and programs to encourage environmentally friendly commutes is also a viable solution.
7. Purchasing Renewable Energy Credits
Clean energy can be sourced in many different ways. For example, companies without the means to create their own clean energy can buy it instead through purchasing Renewable Energy Credits. These credits represent power generated by renewable renewable sources such as solar and wind.
8. Investing in Power Purchase Agreements
Similar to the above, companies can enter into Power Purchase Agreements that enable the development of wind farms that add renewable energy back to the grid. Furthermore, these agreements have the added benefit of creating jobs for the project's development and long term operations.
Examples of Corporate Social Responsibility stretch beyond the environment.
9. Advocating for equal pay
Gender based pay gaps are especially prevalent in the U.S. and U.K. It is estimated that on average women earn 80 cents for every dollar that men earn. As a result, companies have made an effort to bridge this gap by initiating equal pay assessments and committing funds to adjust their pay practices. Similarly, another type of gap that has received a lot of attention is the CEO-to-average-worker pay ratio. Although this ratio will never be equal, it is an important indicator of income inequality that publicly traded companies are required to disclose.
10. Increasing Diversity at the Board and Executive Level
Diversity is an important part of any business. Studies have shown that companies with a diverse Board of Directors often have better financial performance. Due to this, companies are making an increased effort to seek out individuals from different backgrounds when filling a board seat or executive position. Fortune 500 companies still have a long way to go regarding diversity. Nonetheless, we are starting to see more representation from women and people of color on boards and at the highest levels.
11. Strengthening Business Ethics Programs
Business Ethics has become an integral part of companies’ framework and identity. As a result, entities have put programs in place to ensure that employees have multiple avenues to report troublesome behavior, conduct or practices without fear of retaliation.
12. Sponsoring Charitable Matching Programs
An increasing number of employers are sponsoring charitable matching programs where they match what their employees' donations to charity. This shows that the employers care and can also encourage people to donate to causes and initiatives.
13. Organizing Employee Volunteering Opportunities
Some companies organize opportunities for their employees to volunteer for charities rather than than simply encouraging them to volunteer. This is often done by organizing days in which employees can use paid time to get out of the office and volunteer with a charity. This allows employees to engage with the community and participate in initiatives that they are passionate about.
14. Founding Non-Profit Organizations
A few entities take philanthropy a step further and found their own 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. They are able to leverage their scale, resources and brand to champion various causes and effect change. For instance, Coca-Cola created the Coca-Cola foundation as a way to give back.
15. Giving back to the local community
Businesses have a strong desire to serve those in the local communities that they serve. This can range from putting on local events to help those in need to opening their doors during a natural disaster or other catastrophic event. These grass root efforts build trust and support individuals in their own backyard.
Have you seen other examples of Corporate Social Responsibility? Let us know in the comments!