Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is more than just a buzzword. These days it can be the difference between success and failure.
According to Global Affairs Canada CSR is defined as “the voluntary activities undertaken by a company to operate in an economic, social and environmentally sustainable manner.” It’s not enough for a company to just say out is operating responsibly. It must demonstrate this through transparency.
Why is it more important today and why will it become more important tomorrow? It’s because of how easy it is to spread information publicly. Anyone with access to a keyboard or a phone can attempt to smear a company or industry’s reputation. If your company has a solid record of being socially responsible through its actions and has done all it can to secure a social licence there is a good chance the company emerges unscathed. Doing business this way can also set your company apart from others in your industry.
Nielsen conducted a world wide survey on corporate social responsibility. Over 30,000 consumers in 60 countries took part. Overall 55% of respondents are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies are committed to positive social and environmental impact. The numbers are lowest in Europe (40%) and North America (42%). They are highest in Asia-Pacific (64%), Latin America (63%) and the Middle East/Africa (63%).
Nielsen’s Amy Fenton, says, “this behavior is on the rise and it provides opportunities for meaningful impact in our communities, in addition to helping to grow share for brands.” Fenton adds, “it’s no longer a question if consumers care about social impact. Consumers do care and show they do through their actions. Now the focus is on determining how your brand can effectively create shared value by marrying the appropriate social cause and consumer segments.”