Why It Pays To Be a Socially Responsible Business
Why It Pays To Be a Socially Responsible Business
From the largest conglomerates to the smallest start-ups, socially responsible business is a practice no leader can ignore. What might seem like a trend, is in fact, a full-scale movement that companies across verticals are embracing. The reason behind this shift? Data shows that 49 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for a brand’s products if it supports a cause that is important to them. For consumers between the ages of 18 and 24, this percentage jumps to 60.
Why Does Socially Responsible Business Matter?
In 2016, corporations donated over $17 billion to charities. While there were altruistic intentions behind these donations, companies benefit from practicing socially responsible business methods. A business that has dedicated itself to socially responsible practices sees:
- Improved public image,
- Increased media coverage,
- Stronger brand loyalty,
- More opportunities to engage new customers,
- Higher employee engagement, and
- More investors that stay invested for a longer period of time.
Yes, socially responsible efforts provide invaluable resources for communities everywhere. However, from a business perspective, social responsibility is a worthwhile, long-term investment for any company.
Examples of Socially Responsible Business
Don’t assume that socially responsible businesses solely operate as hippie mom-and-pop shops that sell organic granola and handmade hacky sacks. Multi-national corporations in every industry are embracing their social responsibilities, and in turn, seeing the benefits to their bottom line.
International beverage conglomerate Coca-Cola launched a worldwide initiative to empower five million female entrepreneurs by 2020. The 5by20 program is in 634 countries and has already assisted 1.7 million women since launching in 2010.
As one of the fastest growing companies in the world, Method, made a name for itself by offering safe and effective cleaning products made from natural ingredients sold in environmentally responsible, biodegradable packaging. Method generates $100 million in revenue annually simply by selling products that make our world a little greener.
Companies that have embraced their social responsibilities are transforming the business landscape. Think of brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Toms Shoes, and Whole Foods. These businesses not only offer top-of-the-line products but are also well-known for their philanthropic efforts. Consumers associate these brands with a better world, which is why people spend their hard earned money on their goods.
How Can a Business Be Socially Responsible?
No one expects your organization to save the world. However, that doesn’t mean your socially responsible business can’t change the world for one specific group in need. For instance, hosting a canned food drive for a local homeless shelter isn’t going to end world hunger but it will have a huge impact on that organization.
To get started, think about your company’s current values and issues related to those values. For instance, if your business is an accounting firm, you may want to look at programs that support financial literacy. If you own a construction company, look for ways to use sustainable materials or donate surplus from projects to your local Habitat for Humanity.
Another way to identify causes you want to support is to ask your employees for their input. Who knows what ideas they might have, and if you work with them on these initiatives, they’ll be more invested in it for a longer period of time.
You can also use your clients to support your efforts. Maybe your company has decided to work with a local animal shelter. Tell your customers about it on social media and encourage them to donate or volunteer. You can even host a fundraiser and invite current and potential clients. This would help the cause and give you an opportunity to be more visible to buyers.
You may find it’s easiest to get the ball rolling by partnering with a nonprofit organization. They will be able to help you organize volunteer days and will already have giving programs in place so you’re not starting from scratch. This also means your employees don’t have to spend time on creating these initiatives and instead can just jump right in.
Most importantly, integrate social responsibility into your mission statement and corporate culture. That establishes your company’s dedication to these efforts and makes it an important component of your operations.
“The business of business should not be about money,” explained Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop and a leader in the world of corporate social responsibility. “It should be about responsibility. It should be about public good, not private greed.”
Companies big and small, dedicate the time and energy to fulfilling their social responsibilities. Here at Alt Creative, we give 10% of major web projects to charitable causes and we empower minority political candidates with vote-winning web design services at a fraction of the cost. It really doesn’t matter if you have five employees or 500. Being a socially responsible business is a commitment every company should consider.