With consumers more careful than ever before about the companies they are buying from and with employees more meticulous about the organizations they are working for, businesses need to understand and embrace their role as agents of change within the society. It’s no longer only about the gains for the company or shareholders, but about seeing and using your business as a force for good.
Corporate Social Responsibility
There is a growing expectation that companies should make a positive impact that goes beyond profits. Research shows that 70% of consumers want to know if the brands and retailers they are shopping from support environmental and social issues. 46% of consumers pay close attention to a company’s social responsibility programs before buying from it. They expect businesses to be responsible in how they treat employees, communities and the planet. Consumers also prefer shopping from organizations that have some sort of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program that addresses important issues like human rights or sustainability. Employees also want to work for companies that have purpose and are committed to sustainability.
Sustainability is Good for Business and the Planet
This is not a zero-sum game. The beauty of using business as a force for good is that all the parties involved get something in return. Customers get the peace of mind of choosing a company that works towards helping and improving the world, not destroying it for profit gains. Employees get a sense of belonging in an organization that shares the same values. And the businesses that operate using sustainable goals can innovate and build markets worldwide.
Even the best-managed companies will encounter difficulties in markets where chaos and instability reign supreme. But, by acting as an agent of change and providing solutions to fundamental challenges, like employee rights, sustainable practices, and so on, businesses can align their own goals with the global goal of building a better world.
A Robust and Transparent Corporate Social Responsibility Program is Essential
Consumers are skeptical of corporate motivation and don’t always take businesses at their word when they claim that they are responsible. About three-quarters of consumers think that when companies donate to charities they do it for their own benefit, specifically to boost their brand image.
Meeting society’s expectations and avoiding accusations of greenwashing can be quite the balancing act. Some companies have developed volunteering programs and encourage employees to volunteer their services to charities and non-profit organizations. One solution that seems to be particularly effective is engaging in activities that serve the company, employees and the community all at once.
CSR Ideas On How To Change
Here are some ideas on how to evolve your culture and goals:
- Align your messaging and overall brand with your core values. This helps to build a credible online presence and effectively speak to your target audience. Not sure exactly where to start? You can contact one of our Green Business Bureau members, MAYO Designs for free consultation. They are leading by example by giving back their services to help small businesses.
- Start a green team and create a greener culture. Consider joining Green Business Bureau to access great content on these topics and a sustainability framework. You might also consider validating your current greening efforts with the GBB EcoAssessment™, and track, prioritize, and plan your greening initiatives with the GBB EcoPlanner™.
Become a Social Responsible Business. Think About the Greater Good.
Using business as a force for good is no longer an option, but a necessity. Both consumers and employees expect it and the world needs it too. When companies understand their new role, it can bring powerful change to our society.
If you need a catalyst to help change your ways, to become a greener business, to become a company committed to doing good, we encourage you to engage with Green Business Bureau and Mayo Designs. We are partnering together to help companies become strategic about sustainability and purpose. You can get in touch with Mayo Designs and they’ll help you implement a branding and marketing strategy that accurately reflects your values and help you connect with your ideal customer.
With the impacts that COVID-19 is having on businesses, MAYO Designs is offering FREE consultation services to small businesses that need to reassess their marketing strategy so they can come out stronger on the other side. Remember, we are all in this together and the MAYO team is committed to doing EVERYTHING they can to support each other.