THE BRAND Differentiator

Corporate Social Responsibility is more than a tick box in your strategy.
By Irina Velkova

We are fortunate to live in times when ethical investments, sustainable development and purposeful finance are high on the agenda of companies and investors. The United Nations principles for responsible investments are at the heart of all business discussions nowadays, and the term ESG (Environmental, social and corporate governance) has gained tremendous popularity as a measurement for successful business in recent years. Yet, many companies still consider corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a tick box exercise in their business plans. This is not necessarily wrong but devalues the important role these businesses can indeed play in doing good for society, and eventually maximising their own good. CSR is a great opportunity for truly committed companies to engage with organisations dedicated to achieving more sustainable, ethical and not commercially driven goals. Smart businesses have already realised that having a CSR strategy in place and partnering with institutions devoted to greater causes, is a real brand differentiator. This sets them amongst the best in class and makes their investors feel good about the impact they have in society.

With social media ruling the world, this allows customers to feel proud about the causes their favourite brands are involved in. Evidence also shows that employees’ satisfaction and engagement increase when the companies they work for are socially responsible. These are all real, undeniable benefits for businesses. However, I would argue that the most valuable impact of CSR is for the longer-term. The companies of tomorrow think about what they can do today to be successful in the future. And they all have discovered that improving the environment, helping society to become more educated and more culturally adept, fighting poverty and investing in sustainable products, are the only way we can all move forward. Because this is what makes businesses flourish and sustainable going forward.

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