Corporate social responsibility (CSR) shows that a company actively takes steps to invest in the greater good of a community by doing something that demonstrates a level of caring. The benefits of CSR are numerous. Today, a whopping 93 percent of the world’s largest companies publish CSR reports. Back in 2005, just 64 percent of these big companies produced such a report. Why are corporations around the world jumping on the trend? Quite simply, there are major advantages of corporate social investment. And these advantages extend far beyond good PR. Research shows that when companies genuinely invest in corporate social responsibility, the positive outcomes benefit consumers, employees and the company’s bottom line.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
The benefits to corporate social responsibility are numerous, but can include increased media coverage that is earned as opposed to paid, which is free, positive publicity and more engaged and happier employees. With consumers increasingly concerned about the ethics of the goods and services they purchase, positive publicity is evermore important. A strong CSR program can also attract more investors and partners to your company by illustrating that your business is about more than just the bottom line.
Business Benefits of CSR
One of the benefits of pursuing a strategy of social responsibility is that it generates a positive public image for your company. Further, companies that meaningfully engage in CSR generate increased media coverage that is earned as opposed to paid, which is free, positive publicity. With consumers increasingly concerned about the ethics of the goods and services they purchase, positive publicity is evermore important.
A strong CSR program can also attract more investors and partners to your company by illustrating that your business is about more than just the bottom line. What’s more, investing in CSR can show investors that your company is healthy and looking towards the future. For example, going green may have an up front cost, but it will likely pay off in the long term. Research shows that companies that pursue green programs perform better than those that don’t, especially in the second year after the program launch.
Employee Benefits of CSR
One of the biggest benefits of corporate social responsibility to a business is that it improves employee engagement. A worker who believes that her employer is ethical is more cooperative, more helpful to his or her peers and has a better relationship with coworkers. CSR companies also see an increase in creativity among employees. Perhaps more importantly, workers feel a greater sense of shared identity with socially responsible companies. This means employees work harder, get better results and are even willing to make sacrifices for the good of the company.
In hiring, CSR can attract top talent to businesses. Millennial workers are committed to values-based companies and are particularly attracted to companies that invest in CSR programs. A recent survey found that 72 percent of students entering the labor force stated they were seeking jobs that would make a positive impact. Ultimately, a quality CSR strategy will attract and retain high quality employees, not to mention get the best possible performance from them.
Consumer Benefits of CSR
More and more, consumers expect companies to be socially responsible. Nearly half of what consumers feel about a given company is based on their approach to CSR. Similarly, an overwhelming 91 percent of global consumers expect companies to operate responsibly and care about more than just profits. Eighty-four percent of consumers purposefully search for ethical products and 55 percent are actually willing to pay more for a product from a company that they perceive to be more socially conscious. Quality CSR programs translate to more sales and happy customers who are willing to recommend your brand to others.
- KDC PR: The Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility for your Business’ Image
- Cone: 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study
- HBR: Stop Talking About How CSR Helps Your Bottom Line
- Double the Donation: Why Corporate Social Responsibility is Important
- Conscious Company Media: 6 Ways Corporate Social Responsibility Benefits Your Employees
- Kellogg: Take 5: How Companies Benefit from Corporate Social Responsibility
Chelsea Levinson earned her B.S. in Business from Fordham University and her J.D. from Cardozo. She is a small business owner who has created content for Bank of America, H&R Block, CNBC, AOL and many more.