Corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs and their role in organizational strategy across departments has grown in recent years. This is because social responsibility efforts now influence four key areas that corporations rely on for success:
1. Consumer Purchasing Behavior
2. Employee Retention and Acquisition
3. Attractiveness to Investors
4. Business Growth
We begin by exploring what drove this transformation and shift in expectations for corporations, providing background essential to understanding the current sentiment around the globe, from multiple stakeholders. From the Paris Agreement to the the UN Global Compact to IMPACT 2030, corporations have taken steps to publicly commit to social responsibility goals. More importantly, with changing reporting requirements and social media, they are being held accountable for those goals. Case in point: 82% of consumers say if a company makes social or environmental commitments, they will hold it responsible for sharing results (2017 Cone CSR Survey).
Investors are taking notice of the power of a CSR program as well, with a majority acknowledging that a lack of a CSR program could equate to measurable future risk. BlackRock®, the largest investor in the world, recently took this point to another level of significance, announcing they would only be investing in companies contributing to society moving forward. As the 2017 Giving in Numbers report from CECP reflects, a strong CSR program is an indicator of a bright future and strong performance of management, competitive differentiation, employee engagement, organizational culture, and innovation.
With a strong CSR program, you can influence both consumer purchasing behavior and investor relations, areas essential for business growth. You can also engage your employees and community in new and exciting ways with employee volunteer and giving initiatives, fostering relationships that strengthen your brand and extend your local reach. Millennials, who will soon make up 50% of the workforce, hold corporate responsibility in such high regard, that 75% would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company (Cone Millennial Employment Engagement Survey). If you don’t focus on building a solid foundation today for your CSR program, you could be putting your future workforce at serious risk.
Looking forward, corporate social responsibility and corporations’ roles in the social economy will only continue to evolve. Consumers are looking to corporations today to incorporate values into their business practices, and investors continue to develop resources to benchmark companies’ CSR efforts. Corporate responsibility has grown to be recognized as such a key profit driver that companies are using the idea as a foundation for business growth (see Freya Williams’ 6 Reasons Why Green Is the New Black).
Explore the full “Corporations and Their Evolving Roles in the Social Good Economy” white paper here.