Corporate Social Responsibility and the Beauty of Giving Back
Organizing a fundraising event. Donating food to a local animal shelter. Serving at a soup kitchen. No matter what you do to give back, volunteering feels pretty good, doesn’t it?
But it doesn’t have to stop there. More and more corporations across America are setting their sights on social causes and doing everything they can to give back to society. Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream supports family farms. Google provides grants to several social impact initiatives, like Goodwill Industries International. Levi Strauss prevents water waste throughout the jeans manufacturing process.
More consumers than ever are urging companies to incorporate social responsibility efforts into their business plans. Customers want to give their hard-earned money to establishments that take a hands-on approach to improving our world.
Whether you create an employee volunteer program, support renewable power, or form a philanthropic arm for multiple causes, it can be simple for corporations to implement social responsibility within the company culture. It’s just all about taking that leap and putting in the time and energy.
4 Ways to Implement Social Responsibility
It doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you work towards implementing social responsibility within your company. And the beauty of it? You can encourage and inspire others to help contribute as well.
There are four main ways to incorporate social responsibility into your work week. Let’s break it down.
-Environmental efforts: Regardless of size, all businesses can impact the carbon footprint. From planting trees, to driving electric company vehicles, companies have a multitude of ways to go green and transform into an environmentally-friendly office.
-Ethical labor practices: Equal pay. Non-discrimination. Healthy work-life balance. By treating employees fairly and ethically, companies can show them that they are invested in their well-being and future. Ethical labor practices particularly relate to corporations that operate in international countries - like producing goods in factories and having to work with different labor laws.
One example is Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and gear company, that has made strides in ensuring all employees working in the international factories (like the one pictured below) not only receive a minimum wage, but a living wage that supports their livelihood.
-Philanthropy: A great way to give back to your community is donating money, products, or services to local charities. Whether it be school supplies to low-income students, or giving money to a neighborhood animal shelter, when you support your community, potential clients will respect your efforts and remember to contact you for future business.
-Volunteering: You should always give without expecting anything else in return. Corporations need to adopt this rule when volunteering at a charitable event. By genuinely giving back to nonprofit organizations, you can easily establish a commitment to certain causes and meet many inspirational people along the way.
Another great way to promote social responsibility is encouraging your employees to volunteer for causes that are important to them. When employees are trusted to organize philanthropic endeavors, they’ll feel appreciated and even more invested in the company.
Millennial Consumers Want More
As consumers, millennials demand more from corporations – like practicing social responsibility.
With the rising cost of living and a pile of student debt that can’t be swept under the rug, millennials are tight on cash and can’t always contribute to charities. But even though they may not have the means to donate, at least they have the purchasing-power to side with companies that give back to causes that are important to them.
Take Warby Parker for example – an eyewear retailer that targets the millennial generation. The innovative company mails customers five different frames of their choice to try on before making a purchase. It’s easy, accessible, and a fun experience for millennials to partake in. But it doesn’t stop there. Through the Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program, Warby Parker donates eyewear to nonprofit partners every time someone purchases a pair of glasses.
Of course, millennials are drawn to this company’s mission. Because not only are they trying on glasses in the comfort of their home, but they’re also supporting a company that gives back to others in need. This is the solution millennials need to feel like they are giving back in some small way, without having to break the bank.
Now it’s Your Turn
The times are changing, and more companies are giving back as opposed to being laser-focused on the “getting back.” By taking small steps every day, you can incorporate social responsibility into your mission and make a difference within your community. This is just the starting line of the tremendous impact you can make.