Part 2 of our CSR series
First, it’s important to look at what you’re presently doing. Chances are, your business may already have incorporated responsible practices, such as installing more efficient lights, promoting recycling, or encouraging a healthy lifestyle for employees. You’ll want to document what you are already doing and, if possible, your return on investment so far.
Next, determine what the most important social responsibility issues are to the people you’re connected to; your company may have particular assets that are well suited to address those needs. From there, devise and implement a concrete plan based on your company’s unique priorities: who is responsible for what, what resources and help will they need in order to accomplish goals, and what is the timeframe? The final, and perhaps most integral part of any CSR effort is setting concrete targets and measuring progress against those goals. This is critical to ensure others within the company. as well as customers and investors, can see strides being made, and will also help ensure that over time, money will be dedicated to these efforts so that they are sustainable. While CSR programs can usually save money in the long run, they often need up front investments to start. Measuring a plan’s success against initial concrete goals will reveal how valuable efforts have been, or indicate that the plan should be altered.
Making CSR a priority clearly takes time, effort, and resources, but the return can be significant to the community, the environment and your business. There is more and more evidence that companies that have CSR as a core strategy are outperforming those that do not. A recent cause marketing study by Cone Communications revealed that 85 percent of consumers have a more positive view of companies that support a cause they care about. In addition, a CSR-minded business will become a more attractive employer; people want to work somewhere they’ll feel valued, healthy, and happy. Providing such an environment will help attract talented individuals. Finally, making environmentally conscious changes, like reducing electricity use or removing disposable plates and utensils in an office kitchen will also save money in the long run. Embracing CSR will allow your business to not only survive in the changing times, but also thrive. Doing good isn’t just the right thing to do, but it also leads to doing better as a company.