As your company’s leader, it is your responsibility to make sure that your company is acting in the best interest of the environment and society as a whole. This concept is known as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Depending on the industry your business is in, your CSR strategy may look different than that of a business in a completely different industry. These are some basic principles of CSR that every leader should keep in mind!
Ethical Business Practices: This principle details the fact that businesses need to provide fair labor practices for their employees and the employees of their suppliers. This includes equal pay for equal work and living wage compensation initiatives. One example of a company who does this really well is Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Ben & Jerry’s uses fair trade-certified ingredients in their products. Learn more about what it means to be Fair Trade Certified.
Reinvesting Profits in Environmental Programs: As a business, doing your part to care for the environment is so important. With growing recognition and news of environmental issues, businesses must take steps to reduce their footprint and waste. Making sure your company is doing all you can to limit air, land, and water pollution by reinvesting a portion of your profits into environmental programs and initiatives is key. Small ideas include a recycling program at the office or a reusable water fountain machine (and encourage employees to reuse their drinking glasses - better yet, buy everyone a glass or thermos with your company's logo on it #represent).
Supporting Charitable Organizations: This principle can come in the form of time, money, and/or resource donations. It is important to research organizations at the local, national, and international level, and to really hone in on which ones you choose to support as a company. They should be directly aligned with your mission and purpose. One unique way to get involved in supporting charitable organizations is by matching donations from the community or your employees (for example, for every customer that donates $5, your company also donates $5).
Economic Responsibilities: It is important that you find a balance between a variety of stakeholders (your company, the environment, society, etc.). This principle relates to the fact that while your business needs to work towards positively benefiting society, they also must generate business growth and profit. If your business isn’t growing and making a profit, it will be unable to positively impact these other areas. It is important to make decisions with not just your business growth and profit in mind, but also society and the environment as well.
Companies that have strong CSR often receive positive attention and have a good reputation with the community and their consumers established. If your company does not have strong CSR, you may lose customers to other companies who are helping the community and society. Make sure you are taking the steps to review your CSR strategy and looking for ways to strengthen it - your company and society will be better off because of it!