What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

Increased sales due to customer loyalty as a result of great csr

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is simply a call for firms to take responsibility for the social and environmental effects of their companies in the society.

In the 21st century, consumers do not only consider quality goods and services when selecting their brand but the social responsibility of the firm as well.

Many consumers are prioritizing (CSR); holding corporations accountable for their practices, beliefs, and profits. Surprisingly, some consumers will even abandon their favorite brands if they do not observe good CSR practices.

CSR is an opportunity of every company to demonstrate their corporate citizenship and protect themselves from losing their clients and respect from the community surrounding the company.

These CSR Statistics are Insane

A study carried out by Cone Communications in 2017, proofed the intensity of the CSR matter.

  • 60% of the individuals who participated hoped that firms would take responsibility without having government regulations.
  • 87% of the participants could buy a firm’s products simply because they supported something they believed.
  • Most importantly, a whole 76% said they wouldn’t buy products of a company if they discovered they were not aligned with their beliefs.

Benefits of CSR

Corporate Responsibility Offers Protection Against Most Scandals

Let’s be honest. As your company grows, the more likely, it is to be drawn to scandals.

Companies with great CSR protect their overall reputation. Research from Virginia Tech and the University of Dayton discovered that strong social responsibility shields a firm against scandals. But the pros go beyond protection.

Your company will easily bounce back from negative information. Simply phrasing, social responsibility creates a culture of reliability and honesty for your firm when facing a scandal or not.

Research carried out by Boston University and Baruch College show that with corporate social responsibility, firms create a “reservoir of goodwill.” This wins the customer over in a way that they do not judge the company by the negative information they discover in the searches. Still, need more back up information?

Further research from the University of California, Berkeley showed that corporate citizenship could serve as reputation insurance. It can protect businesses, preventing long-term damage from adverse effects, and recover fast.

So your firm is safe and protected from scandals, how else will CSR benefit your company?

Happy Volunteers

Good Corporate Citizenship Attracts Top Talent

Wendy Burk, CEO of Cadence Travel, says that CSR keeps a company ethical and accountable. Apparently, not consumers alone are impressed by responsible firms.

Susan Cooney, head of global diversity, equity and inclusion at Symantec says that top talents in the business industry consider CSR as a factor while choosing who to work with.

Cooney added that the next generation of employees are different. They are seeking employers who are focused on the planet, people and revenue. As a result, firms are encouraged to put their increased profits in programs that give back to society.

CSR Encourages Innovation

Before you roll your eyes and snap, I know when typing the name “innovation” in Amazon only; you get more than 150, 000 results; It’s that common.

But hear me out; in the context of CSR, innovation is a big deal for both the company and the society.

For example, Unilever Global has been able to launch a new conditioner that saves on water usage. This is through “lens of sustainability” as their Global VP for HR, Marketing, Communications and Sustainability, Geoff McDonald loves to call it.

Without sustainability, Unilever research and growth efforts would not have resulted in such a product.

CSR is a Good way to Save on Costs

One of the best ways of a company to start engaging in sustainability is to approach it on a reduction-cost basis. Whether it’s reducing energy or less packaging, go for it; these savings add up very fast.

For example, General Mills have been in its process of reducing energy. In light of the project, they installed energy monitoring meters Covington, Ga. Plant. By simply doing this, they saved $600,000.

CSR Leads to Brand awareness.

In the past, this was the primary reason why companies embraced CSR. For instance, timberland was able to incorporate their business values into their business model. This is, however, getting harder day by day.

However, if your firm is committed to ethical practices; this news will spread. More people will, therefore, hear about your business, creating brand awareness.

Corporate Responsibility Triggers Long-term thinking

McDonald of Unilever Company says that the only thing they were implementing sustainability for is long-term purposes. This is ensuring that the future of the firm is secure or well better phrased… sustainable.

It is thinking about how business decisions made today will affect it financially and socially ten years from now. This is better than thinking about the next fiscal quarter’s financial results.

Social Responsibility Has a Positive Impact on Customer engagement

CSR is underestimated as a tool for business-to-business organization communication. Through CSR, you can successfully engage with your consumers freely in new ways. This is easier because the message is about “something good.”

Remember the only way CSR is effective is if people know about it. Take an example of Walmart which is considered the leader of environmentalism. This is after their 2008 ad campaign urging consumers to be aware of the product choices they made as well as other environmental effects.

How will Corporate Social Responsibility Affect Employee Engagement?

The first people who should understand what you are doing in an organization is your employees. If the latter do not know about everything your firm is doing; you are missing out a lot.

Team work

Firms like Sara Lee create a global sustainability team to help create great strategy sustainability. At a lower level, the Solo Cup Company launched a Sustainability Action Network. The program encourages employees in serving the community focused on the firm’s CSR priorities.

Through CSR programs; employees get to work in a positive environment where personal and professional growth is encouraged.

Powerful Corporate Social Responsibility Examples

Target Corporate Social Responsibility

“Good corporate citizens” sounds just like a term or idea in real life. Well, big companies engage in philanthropic work once in a while, but that sounds a bit highbrow. However, Target will change your perspective.  Target is more than the best stop of milk and tires but a good example of corporate social responsibility.

Since 1946, Target has been volunteering to support environmental community activities, in which they have stores. They have grown sustainable practices on educational programs that have accrued to 5% of their total revenues. That amounts to $4 million every week in the education department. Target has donated more than $875 million since 2010.

Your company may not afford $4 million every week, but you have employees who you can let volunteer weekly for good courses in the community; the returns are great.

Google CSR

Google is the biggest search engine, and being a big corporation, they are leading in good citizenship. It is clear that their efforts in good corporate social responsibility have been paying off over the years. For instance, Google Green is a CSR program that helps use resources efficiently and use renewable energy. The efforts have had an overall positive impact globally. As a result of the CSR initiative, Google has seen an overall drop in their power usage in its data centers. These savings can be used for other improvements or needs in the business.

Starbucks CSR

C.A.F.E. Practices as Starbucks refers to their CSR program is an acronym for Coffee and Farmer Equity.

C.A.F.E is a set of buying guidelines stating and ensuring that;

  • All coffee they buy reaches their standards
  • The coffee is sustainably grown
  • Employees have human and safe working conditions and have adequate living conditions.

Support the farmers. Starbucks ensures that farmers get fair pay by demanding to see the receipts of the supply chain to know how much the coffee farmers received.

Amazon Corporate Social Responsibility

Over the decades, Amazon has been committed to creating ambitious goals on making their voice heard in environmental policies and showcasing their ability in technology to drive innovation and boost the world’s efforts to move in the right direction.

Kara Hurst, the newly appointed head of Amazon Sustainability and CEO of The Sustainability Consortium, says that they believe in the purchase of power to create more opportunities. This explains why there are working on powering their global infrastructure using 100% renewable energy. They also have their largest wind farm in Texas which contributes more than 1 million megawatt hours (MWh) natural energy.

Other Successful Initiatives Include;

Ford Motor Company

Ford is also working towards the improvement of their environmental performance. They have developed an EcoBoost engine to increase fuel proficiency in an attempt to curb their GHG emissions.

They are also aiming at offering 13 electric fuel car models by 2020. Also, American Ford dealerships, are using solar PV systems and wind sail as their main power source.


Dell Company has not been left behind in this race. The company is now transporting their laptops using less wasteful containers made of eco-friendly materials.


TOMS’ admirable business model of donating one pair of shoes to a needy person for every bought pair of shoes, is by far one of the best in the industry. Well, they have set the bar quite high because, besides this kind gesture, they also partner with NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and multiple non-profit organizations to demonstrate ethical behavior.

As if that is not enough, TOMS also provides clean drinking water, create a businesses in developing nations to fight bullying, and help visually-impaired individuals restore their sight.

Final Word

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the code that challenges organizations to go beyond their comfort zone, to ensure they affect the community positively.

Gone are the times when consumers only worried about quality products; today they are aware of the company’s beliefs and environmental impact of firms in the society.

In fact, most of the clients will consider it as a leading factor when choosing who to shop with.

However, there is no reason as to why companies should hesitate in engaging in CSR because they enjoy benefits such as;

  • Customer engagement
  • Employee engagement
  • Long-term sustainability
  • Increased brand awareness
  • Innovation
  • Cost savings
  • Protection from scandals