Vendor A and Vendor B have both made their pitches, and now it’s up to you. Both offered very similar products at very similar prices. But Vendor A has been cited numerous times for illegal dumping of waste and other transgressions, while Vendor B has a clean record and is an active member of a city-wide Zero Waste initiative.
In other words, one vendor is taking its social responsibility seriously, and the other is not. With everything else being equal, which vendor do you choose?
Research has found that shoppers, who have plenty of other options, will abandon a business that isn’t socially responsible.
At the very least, engaging in socially responsible actions helps give companies a good reputation.
Right now, many companies that want to begin CSR initiatives start with one or more of these four broad categories:
- Green efforts: Businesses have a large carbon footprint. Reducing those footprints is a step that’s good for the company and for society as a whole.
- Philanthropy: Money is always welcome at nonprofits that deal with social causes. But donations in kind are also welcome; your company may have products and services that could benefit charities and community programs. One good place to start would be joining the Giving Tuesday charitable movement, which takes place the day after Cyber Monday to kick off the holidays.
- Ethical HR: It’s socially responsible to be fair and ethical with all employees. And it also sets an example for your industry, especially in other nations with labor laws that are different than those in the US.
- Volunteerism: By doing good deeds without expecting anything in return, companies can demonstrate their commitment, voice their concerns about specific issues and show their support for positive initiatives and organizations.
Philadelphia’s Team Clean embraced CSR from the day they opened for business. As a professional janitorial service, Team Clean lost no time in joining the citywide Philly Spring Cleanup, where 21 Team Clean volunteers removed approximately 75 bags of trash and debris. Team Clean’s CEO Donna Allie also served as the chair of the American Heart Association’s “Go Red For Women” yearlong national campaign against heart disease. And her “Think Green” initiative promotes green cleaning products instead of the standard commercial cleaners, which can be harmful if touched or inhaled.
Major corporations can have an outsized impact on whatever causes they choose to champion. But you don’t need to be in the Fortune 500 to make a difference. Even a boutique business or a one-person company will discover that the long-term benefits of corporate social responsibility far outweigh the cost of donating a portion of their profits