Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) takes on many forms and can be considered, developed and accomplished in a number of ways. But how does one evaluate the business case for CSR within your sustainability policy? Is it truly better for your business and how do you maintain the balance?
In considering CSR, the key factor is understanding your responsibility as a company first to sustain your business model. In this respect, your responsibility to your stakeholders and employees must be met – through fiduciary responsibility and employee well being, productivity and diversity. It is my belief that people do business with people who they like, people who they trust and people where they see a good investment and track record of success; thus consumers of business services also seek these traits. CSR plays a role in the foremost reasons as to a potential business relationship and provides an opportunity to showcase the above to prospective consumers.
Secondly in adopting your company CSR efforts, your contribution to the social considerations of sustainability emerge as an alignment between your company vision and goals and your respective community missions.
Ensuring the longevity of your business operations go hand in hand with ensuring your company’s contribution to enhancing the health of the economy in your surrounding community whether this be through job creation, capacity building or giving back. Establishing opportunities for engagement, as opposed to simply reporting or having policies in place, in community missions allows for CSR efforts to be developed, from this measurement and verification of your consumer response can be applied linking your business with accountability.
Consumers like to understand the companies they receive services from, they appreciate transparency and disclosure along with avenues to identify with and connect to businesses they trust. CSR can have advantages for honest brand recognition as a business becomes linked with social endeavors, whether they be focused within your neighborhood, nationally or internationally, they have the opportunity to introduce a level of connection with a consumer which can then generate the most powerful tool in marketing – good old fashioned, word of mouth and referrals – which lead to more business and more informed business consumers.