Why B2B Companies Should Prioritize CSR
CSR is a Prime Investment
The acronym “CSR,” which stands for corporate social responsibility, gets tossed around often in the business world. In fact, 68% of people highly value companies that participate in CSR and give back to their local communities. Various studies on the topic have shown that it has become a valuable effort for organizations to invest in, and here’s why:
- CSR saves businesses money. IO Sustainability and Babson College, along with Verizon and Campbell Soup Company looked into all studies that related to the correlation of return on investment (ROI) and CSR. These researchers discovered that companies investing in CSR had the opportunity to increase their market share by over 5% — the same companies even increased their market value among competitors by up to 80%. Furthermore, businesses that participate in CSR have found that almost 60% of their buyers will increase brand loyalty too. Not only will brand loyalty improve, but consumers are also even more likely to pay higher for products and services sold by sustainability-focused companies.
- CSR helps businesses align with customers’ values. In a study by Clutch, researchers found a majority of people base their purchasing decisions on a business’ CSR choices. Key findings of the study include that over 70% of people believe a business must vocalize its support for social issues. Of that same group, 3 in 4 shared they are more likely to make a purchase at a company if it in some way supports a cause with which they agree. On the contrary, nearly 60% of people will no longer make purchases at a business if its CSR efforts don’t align with their personal values.
- CSR attracts new and current stakeholders. From employees to investors, stakeholders at all levels care about the CSR priorities of a company. At the consumer level, 75% of shoppers may choose to take a negative action against socially irresponsible companies. From an employee standpoint, organizations that are socially responsible see staff turnover almost half as low as businesses that don’t partake in CSR initiatives. In addition to keeping consumers and employees happy, more than 60% of investment professionals see companies with CSR programs as a lower financial risk.
Deciding Which Elements of CSR Your Organization Will Focus On
It’s important to remember that CSR programs are not one-size-fits-all. In fact, there are four categories of CSR your company can get involved in, including environmental, ethical, philanthropic and economic.
- Environmental: Organizations involved in environmental CSR choose to participate in efforts that will positively impact the future of our planet. A Clutch survey found over 7 in 10 people believe a company’s commitment to the environment is the most valuable CSR effort. A prime example of environmental CSR is Vodafone’s, a telecom company based in England, announcement that it will eliminate all carbon emissions from its UK operations over the next six years. The company took this commitment a step further by also committing to be fully net zero across its global operations by 2040. Other examples include ABCO Cleaning Products’, a green enterprise that produces cleaning products, development of the first mop to receive the Green Seal Certification of Environmental Innovation.
- Ethical: Ethical CSR relates to businesses prioritizing all their employees and other stakeholders receiving fair treatment. A way to attain this is by committing to increase workforce diversity, like hiring workers with disabilities, something IBM has prioritized for decades. When IBM hired its first disabled employee in 1914, the company developed the first Braille typewriter to provide that employee with necessary tools to work. The company continues to be an inclusive workplace for those with disabilities. To this day, IBM regularly offers its employees training to maximize inclusion and accessibility, in addition to partnering with NGOs in the disability space.
- Philanthropic: Philanthropic CSR involves businesses using a portion of their revenue to support noteworthy causes that tend to align with the organization’s values. For the past few years, HughesNet, a telecom company based in Maryland has sponsored the 4-H STEMLab program, helping students in rural areas gain access to STEM education. Considering HughesNet and its parent company, Hughes Network Systems, hire many employees who have studied STEM, this philanthropic CSR program is a fantastic mutually beneficial partnership to enhance its future workforce. Another philanthropic CSR effort is Boeing’s investment in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. This fund enables students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to have the opportunity to expand their opportunities. Through this effort, Boeing is dedicated to increasing options for students who attend HBCUs and enabling them to build relationships that also may lead to a more diverse workforce down the road.
- Economic: This category of CSR is focused on enhancing a company’s operations in a way that also does good for the categories above. Making the world a better place requires making financial decisions that support the environment, people and society as a whole, either at the local, national and/or global level.
What Have We Learned?
There are a variety of ways to get your company involved in purposeful CSR efforts that align with your company’s and stakeholders’ values, and it’s important to get started on a CSR plan if you haven’t yet. Marketing that prioritizes CSR initiatives has the power to make your brand more relatable and human, on top of increasing your company’s competitive edge on the global scale. Showcasing dedication to making the world a better place can help your business secure new customers and drive loyalty globally; thus, CSR is a great way to strengthen your brand’s bottom line as well.
If your business would like to promote your commitment to CSR, connect with Mulberry Marketing Communications to see how we can help.
Brianna Fitzpatrick is an Account Executive at Mulberry Marketing Communications, an award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in Chicago, London and Australia. She has an excitement for media relations and crafting key messages for thought leaders.