Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, is a form of professional self-regulation that reflects a business’s accountability and commitment to providing wellbeing to consumers, communities, and the environment. This regulation is a consumer's first look into a company's procedures, products, and overall functionality. It gives them an idea of how the company performs and if their stated ideologies match their outtakes. CSR plays a crucial role in said company’s attractiveness and brand perception to other companies, agencies, consumers, and investors.
What is CSR?
There are four types of CSR that companies implement – environmental initiatives, charity work, ethical labor practices, and volunteer projects. All of these, individual or combined together, develop free advertisement and slated success for a corporation. Society today judges companies on employee treatment, if there are viable and achievable benefits, workplace ethics and conditions, environmental impact, consumer satisfaction, and how the company impacts the overall community sociologically and economically. Compared to the monetary approach many companies were scaled on in previous years.
The goal is to design and make a positive impact on the community, whether through social accountability, embracing eco-conscious practices; promoting diversity, inclusivity, and equality in the workplace; only contributing to ethical business deals and decisions; or participating in or creating charitable projects. Over the years, CSR has evolved from a voluntary practice, seen by mainly environmental or social based company’s, to now having mandatory regulations on an international level.
So why is corporate social responsibility so important? Well it not only improves the consumer’s perception, but it also creates a stable foundation moving forward into different projects and programs. There are three main areas of importance – it increases customer brand perception, it attracts new and retains existing customers, and it increases appeal to investors. Investors may play a tricky game when it comes to gaining monetary value in business deals. One side of investors may actually look for more sustainable and eco-conscious companies that provide satisfying benefits and outcomes to employees and customers, while the other side may look at those companies as a smart investment opportunity because their ethics are not aligned to what should be (called greenwashing). But, at the end of the day, any investment is money circling back into that leading business to fund a plethora of projects and productions.
The main reasons why CSR is so important to consumers all boils down to – attractiveness, how customers perceive a business, and how they believe their morals are aligned – becoming a part of the company’s roll a deck. Perception is everything when it comes to marketing and advertising a product or goods, so why not have it be the main point of focus when it comes to business ideology – the better the company does, the more positive feedback they receive, in turn gaining popularity and increasing revenue. After the company does their part in consolidating the necessary impacts, the consumers are next to set off the domino effect.
Consumers will also enhance their engagement with certain brands they see fit. One published source states that about four out of six shoppers are more likely to choose products from a purpose-driven brand, than your standard baseline company. Especially with the younger generations, they have it ingrained in their minds that “going green” and being eco-friendly is the proper way to live, so why wouldn’t they purchase goods from sustainable companies? By supporting these brands, it in turn makes consumers believe they are doing their part to help – giving them a sense of inclusion.
A good majority of these consumers are more likely to boycott other businesses that don’t align with their values, or that they deem to have a negative environmental impact. In fact, 76% of consumers would not do business with a brand that opposes their views, and 25% of consumers have a zero tolerance policy for unethical behavior in the workplace.
The Bottom Line of Responsibility
Consumers have become hyperconscious about searching for the proper sustainability company that acts upon what they pledge to achieve. Corporate social responsibility has become a popular trend but needs to become a necessity for all businesses – especially those that want to stay in business. The customer service and production environment is competitive, so rethinking ideals and becoming positively proactive is what will put companies aside from the rest. It will also allow room for internal professional growth, and solidify a safe work space, among improving performance and gaining revenue.
CSR allows for businesses to be held accountable for their actions and promotions, along with giving them a bottom line to work upward from.
About 76% of consumers would not do business with a brand that does not match their moral values, or align with their views on combating societal issues.
CSR gives room for professional and company improvement, increased revenue, a greater positive environmental impact, and brings a voice to sociological issues in the workplace.
If you are a consumer curious about switching over to sustainable products or brands, do your research! Research is key when it comes to finding a credible company…do not settle!