The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have increased the popularity of corporate social responsibility (CSR). The concept of CSR has evolved from being a suggestion that corporations should set aside a part of their profits to invest toward philanthropic activities, to becoming a basic component of how many companies operate their business sustainably.
What is Corporate Social Responsibility?
The term CSR is broadly used to describe a company’s efforts toward improving the community it operates in, and society in general. A company can fulfil its corporate social responsibility in many ways, ranging from donations to charitable organizations, implementation of community initiatives to support various social causes, employee volunteering, etc. A lot of successful organizations use CSR activities to thank customers for their loyalty and give back to the society they thrive in.
Corporate social responsibility has many advantages that businesses of any size, from any sector, can enjoy. That’s why many companies are ramping up their focus on social responsibility. CSR reaps benefits and, undoubtedly, impacts the company’s bottom line. It is, therefore, prudent to also understand the value of CSR as an investment in the company’s future. Here are a few ways in which CSR helps organizations:
Brand Recall and Attracting new customers
In today’s global economy, businesses face even more competition than before. With a myriad of choices available for consumers, organizations can find it extremely difficult to distinguish themselves in their target audience’s eyes. Moreover, the consumers of today are increasingly aware of the significance of social responsibility and are inclined toward brands that operate ethically.
By fulfilling its social responsibility, a company demonstrates its commitment to the larger prevailing issues, instead of only being interested in profit margins, thereby attracting customers who share those values.
One of the key factors that helps a business stay afloat is consumer loyalty. A business will flourish as long as it has customers. A 2019 Aflac CSR survey revealed that 77% of consumers were willing to purchase products from companies committed to making the world better. This indicates that consumers will choose and support companies that are not solely focused on making profits but are also willing to contribute to improving the world.
The trust of the target audience is essential for building a successful brand and retaining customers. CSR helps to achieve these goals by building a positive reputation, helping the company earn the trust and loyalty of customers.
Attracting new employees and retaining existing ones
A study by Porter Novelli concluded that 93% of employees believe organizations must lead with purpose and that around 70% of employees are not willing to work for a company that does not have a strong purpose. These numbers make it clear that CSR initiatives play a role in attracting and retaining dedicated and skilled employees.
CSR demonstrates the compassion a company has for all people, including its employees. And when a business is contributing to the welfare of the world, the likelihood of attracting more talent increases. CSR efforts, thus, help in creating a more positive and productive environment at the workplace.
Positive perception in the media
CSR initiatives help an organization generate opportunities to increase awareness and exposure, which leads to an improved reputation. The visibility of CSR is crucial. Media houses help the target audience and prospective talent learn what a company is doing, where the investment is going, and the impact it is creating. By embracing CSR, a company can stand out from its competitors. It can establish itself as a company committed to taking the next step by thinking about the social and environmental welfare of the community.
A company’s stock price is influenced by tangible as well as intangible elements, and CSR often contributes to the intangible value. Companies supporting good causes are recognized as socially responsible, and investors are willing to engage with such companies. When businesses demonstrate a long-term CSR commitment, it can indicate that their leadership and long-term organizational vision and strategy are also strong, which is what investors look for.
Businesses that fulfil their corporate social responsibility attract more people to work. When employees know that they are engaged with an employer who gives back to society, they feel that they are doing their bit for social welfare as well. Equally importantly, socially responsible businesses appeal to the discerning customer, and evoke loyalty. Thus, it is clear that, in addition to benefiting society, the CSR strategy of a company also yields competitive advantages and helps them deliver better business outcomes.
Views of the author are personal and do not necessarily represent the website’s views.
Shrikant Vaze is the Head of Asia Cluster Global Development Centre at Fujitsu Consulting India. In his current role, he is charged with leading Fujitsu’s India Global Development Centre as well as the Asia Cluster GDC in China, Malaysia, Philippines, India, and Costa Rica. In the India region, he is responsible for the overall growth of Fujitsu Consulting India’s India’s IT Consulting, Managed Infrastructure Services, Application Services, and ERP businesses.
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The CSR Journal Team