In a nutshell Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is all about businesses taking accountability for their business impact. They usually do this by delivering social, environmental or economical benefits to their communities.

CSR can have a big impact on a business’s community, but it can also enhance a brand’s reputation. Since Pret A Manager opened its first store, Pret has given leftover food at the end of each to day to homeless shelters. Now Pret A Manger is a leading high street brand and has retained brand loyalty because of their CSR policy.

However, CSR programs aren’t just for giant companies like Pret A Manger. Businesses whatever their size can benefit from CSR. Here are a few pointers to get started.

What is corporate social responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility is all about your business making a positive impact on society and this can be done in a number of ways.

1. Community involvement

One of the popular ways companies decide to get involved with the community is to partner with non-profit organisations, such as charities, community groups or shelters to create some kind of impact.

2. Environmental sustainability

Other companies prefer to focus on how their business impacts on the environment, creating sustainability initiatives that promote going green.

More and more businesses are starting to use online invoices when billing their customers for services, it provides an easy form of payment that is not only efficient, but can also save money. Some businesses have also started to switch to digital receipts as a way to reduce paper consumption. Both of these examples are simple changes, which businesses can make to decrease operational costs and support sustainability.

3. Political support

Probably not an obvious option, but a growing number of companies are vocalising their beliefs and publicly supporting political issues, such as equality in the workplace and developing countries.

4. Expertise and knowledge support

Some businesses like to utilise their expertise and specialist knowledge to make a difference to the community around. For example, a marketing agency may design the branding and website for a charity event.

So why should you make the effort with CSR?

Here are some benefits of corporate social responsibility:

  • It can have a positive impact in the community. By helping to improve the community around your business, it can create a better quality of life for you and your employees, and your customers. (And happier customers and employees are always better for business.
  • It can improve reputation and brand image and expand your overall customer network.
  • It can create consumer loyalty. It goes without saying that consumers are more inclined to buy from brands that match with their social or political values.
  • It can boost your revenue. Improved reputation and loyalty can lead to better revenue. But, your CSR efforts can also save you money by driving efficiency in your business operations.
  • It can empower your employees. Communicating your business’s values through CSR programs, can have a positive effect on your employees, as well as in your community as there is a feeling of empowerment.