Corporate Social Responsibility is the concept that businesses are responsible for contributing positively to social and environmental issues. The idea is that businesses should support a meaningful cause without expecting anything in return.
The truth is that businesses can take advantage of this opportunity to boost their popularity and win goodwill with their audience all while doing something positive for the world we live in.
According to a 2015 Nielsen study, 66% of customers are willing to spend more money on a product that is sustainable. Take Tom’s shoes for example, for each pair of shoes sold the brand promises to donate a pair of shoes to a needy child in a third world country. Tom’s base model is made from canvas (a modest and low-cost material). However, Tom’s shoes start at a not so modest $50 a pair and are an extremely popular brand amongst millennials due to their promise of donating a pair of shoes for every pair sold. Tom’s shoes is able to charge more for their shoes due to their strong claim of social responsibility by which they essentially make their customers feel like they’re paying for two pairs of shoes (one for a person in need).
Many social and environmental issues can contribute to cost-saving. For example, over the last few years have you noticed that nearly every hotel has a sign encouraging guests to turn off lights before leaving a room? Saving energy is definitely a positive for the environment but it is also a cost-saving measure for the hotel as it lowers utility bills. Donations to non-profit organizations can also mean tax deductions for businesses. Therefore, the support of social and environmental issues does not have to mean sacrificing your bottom line. In fact, supporting social and environmental issues can mean an increase in profitability.
In today’s world, customers expect businesses to do more than just make money and to give back to the issues that they care about personally. 81% of millennials even expect their favorite companies to make public declarations of their corporate citizenship. Even the most hated brands such as Monsanto (which made USA Today’s list of 20 top hated companies) has a corporate social responsibility department which attempts to clean up its image through scholarship funds, claims of sustainable farming, etc.
Aside from building goodwill from your customer base, growing your audience, and being able to charge more for your products; contributing to a meaningful cause will have a positive impact on the world. No matter the size of your contribution, you will be making the world a better place for current and future generations. The contribution to a positive impact will result in happy customers that will become more passionate about your brand and will be likely to share their enthusiasm with others. Since helping a meaningful cause makes everyone feel good, social responsibility efforts will also boost retention and satisfaction among employees.