Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Move towards Greater Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS)

Guest Blogger: Shannon Cross, Pillar Intern, Western University MIT program

Through my time as a Pillar intern, I have enjoyed ample opportunity to research common themes and trends popping up in the nonprofit sector. One specific area of interest is the concept of corporate social responsibility and the ways in which business/the private sector can begin to align itself with the nonprofit sector in order to achieve this goal. They do this by positively impacting the community through environmental, societal and workplace accountability. 

Why Consider Corporate Social Responsibility?
  • As a method of increasing consumer brand loyalty for the company’s products and/or services 
  • As a “win-win” means of creating long term benefits and diverse partnerships for both the company and the community
  • As a way of enhancing the company’s existing socially responsible or “green” values, therefore leading to a more active approach
There are many ways in which a company can go about improving its social presence and corporate image. Following is a list of changes a company may choose to make in order to achieve this goal: 
  • Reduce environmental footprints at the office by encouraging staff to reduce energy usage, bike or use public transit on their way to work, and recycle paper and file folders
  • Check products from suppliers to ensure they meet the company’s ethical standards and not just specific cost criteria
  • Screen new potential employees for their views on environmental sustainability and CSR to ensure they fit with the company’s vision and to see if they might provide further insights on ideas not yet discussed
  • Review what other companies in the field are currently doing to reach these same goals and to then match or improve upon these efforts in order to help your company stand out
  • Alter marketing campaigns to link CRS and environmental awareness to products/services to ensure the company is recognized for undertaking these initiative

Research by the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS) suggests consumers are more likely to buy green products when they are connected with status, linking them to upscale events and celebrities. Still, consumers must also be reassured that a “green” product is just as good or better than leading products/services that do not carry this designation.

For more ideas on going green or implementing CSR strategies, please visit