Corporate social responsibility means that a company cares about more than just profits and actively takes steps to invest in the greater community. 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.
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. This media coverage is earned as opposed to paid, which means free positive publicity for your company. With consumers increasingly caring 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 can cost you substantially up front, but 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 her peers and has a better relationship with coworkers. CSR companies also see an increase in creativity among employees. Perhaps even more important, 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.