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Corporate Social Responsibility – Doing good to do well

What is CSR? Part 1 of a series

You may have heard “corporate social responsibility” – or CSR – mentioned lately in the business world, but what does it mean? The definition is still evolving, but typically CSR is understood as a company’s commitment to manage its economic, social and environmental practices responsibly and efficiently. Businesses are facing increased pressure from consumers, investors, employees and other stakeholders to consider the Three P’s—People, Profit, Planet—in their corporate strategies. In other words, how is your company handling issues like human rights, employee health and safety, labor standards, environmental waste, and ethical practices? Creating a successful CSR strategy can provide several benefits to your company including decreased operating costs, improved employee engagement and productivity, enhanced company brand/image, and strengthened customer loyalty.

In particular, many businesses are seeing substantial benefits from focusing on their environmental impact. If you were to look at the websites of the 30 companies on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, you’d notice they all have one thing in common: an entire page dedicated to their environmental sustainability efforts. These companies realize that green business practices can save money and ensure the company’s long-term survival, while also improving the health of the environment. Companies are reducing their carbon footprints by reinvesting money in clean energy, using solar, wind, and other renewable sources, and finding other creative ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, businesses are minimizing waste by reducing product packaging, reusing or recycling more waste, reducing pollution, and minimizing health and safety risks.

Sounds like a lot to consider, right? Developing your company’s unique CSR strategy may not be the easiest task, but in order to stay competitive and relevant in today’s business world, it’s a critical piece to consider. Consumers are seeking companies that positively impact their communities, large corporations are demanding suppliers with ethical business practices, and prospective employees are drawn to employers who value and prioritize their well being.

So how does your company take steps to increase social responsibility? Check out part 2 of our CSR series or see the CSR work we’ve done.

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