Corporate Social Responsibility is a self-regulating business model that helps a company be socially accountable to not only itself but to its stakeholders and to the public. By practicing CSR, companies can be conscious of the kind of impact they have on all aspects of society: economic, social, and environmental (Fernando, 2021).
Many of our favorite companies have adopted this business model and it has only benefitted them for the better! The world’s most popular search engine Google has achieved 100% of its renewable energy target in 2017. The company also provides grants to several social impact initiatives, including the Equal Justice Initiative and Goodwill Industries International. Another company that we all love is Ben and Jerry’s, and it’s not just for its ice cream. Since the 1980s, the company has supported a number of important causes dealing with sustainability. By 1989, it first “opposed Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone use in cows...It also used its packaging to support the family farm organization, Farm Aid. The company even created the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, which encourages its employees to give back to their communities and offers grants for social justice programs” (Gauss, 2018).
The most noticeable company that completely changed that game for CSR is Starbucks. During an interview in 2017, CEO Howard Schultz believes that there is a great need “to achieve the fragile balance between profit, social impact, and a moral obligation to enhance the lives of our employees and the communities we serve” (Mohn, 2017). The company has achieved many of its CSR milestones; according to its 2019 Global Social Impact Report, “these milestones include reaching 99% of ethically sourced coffee, creating a global network of farmers, pioneering green building throughout its stores, contributing millions of hours of community service, and creating a groundbreaking college program for its partner/employees'' (Fernando, 2021).
Benefits & Reasons to Embrace
There are many benefits for a company to adopt CSR into its culture - boost the company’s image and build its brand, empowers employees to leverage the corporate resources at their disposal, and boost employee morale and lead to greater productivity in the workplace (Murphy, 2019). Studies have shown that CSR functions are “responsible for more than 40% of a company’s reputation...67% of respondents prefer to work for socially-inclined companies” (Smorthit, 2018). According to a study conducted by Deloitte, 70% of millennials listed their company’s commitment to the community as an influence on their decision to work there” (Smorthit, 2018).
So why should a company embrace CSR? Well, there are lots of reasons for a company to adopt this model besides the reasons provided above! According to Forbes, here are six reasons as to why companies should this model:
Innovation - CSR allows a company to create new products that are not only beneficial to the environment but appeals to a whole new target market.
Cost Savings - by implementing sustainability, companies can save costs by using less packaging or less energy.
Brand differentiation - this was one of the primary reasons why companies would adopt CSR. However, as more companies adopt CSR, it makes it harder for brands to be different from one another.
Long-term thinking - CSR is an effort to look at the company’s long-term interest and ensure that the company’s future is sustainable.
Customer engagement - CSR can help improve a company’s engagement with consumers. It’s an easier way for businesses to talk to their customers, as CSR promotes the company doing something positive.
Employee engagement - CSR can help employees not only produce greater productivity in the workplace but also allows employees to develop strategies to implement in products and services.
How to Become Involved
If you are interested in getting involved in CSR then don’t worry! There are lots of ways to incorporated CSR into your curriculum at Temple:
Add a CSR Minor - If you want to apply CSR to your education, then you can add a Corporate Social Responsibility Minor through the Fox School of Business. By taking six courses, you will understand how to incorporate economics, the environment, and social responsibility into corporate decision-making.
Add a Certificate in Sustainability - If you are looking to have a certificate in the overall aspect of sustainability, then Temple has you covered with that as well! The Certificate in Sustainability allows a student to select different courses among four different departments in at least three different schools.
Visit the Office of Sustainability - If you aren’t able to add a minor or a certificate at your time at Temple, then you can find ways to participate through the Office of Sustainability. Through their website, students can easily be a part of the Sustainability Advisory Group, where students have the opportunity to promote initiatives and create their own agenda. Students can also learn about academics and research, as well as events to participate in.
Many Student Professional Organizations at the Fox School of Business also implement CSR initiatives for members to participate in. During the first week of March, Temple University’s Chapter of the American Marketing Association held their annual Social Impact Week! TU-AMA had guest speakers and special events dedicated to promoting CSR and sustainability within its organizations and. Members were able to hear from Paralee Knight, the Corporate Philanthropy and Community Relations at Wells Fargo, as well as Customer Marketing and Brand Advocacy Callie Rojewski from Guru and Marketing Manager Elyssa Cznski from DoSomething.org. During that week, members gathered together to make cards for hospitalized kids around the United States, hold a fundraiser for Liberty Resources, and take part in a park clean-up at Norris Square!
Corporate Social Responsibility influences consumers mainly through a set of variables, such as perceived value, trust, and commitment. Consumers are increasingly trending towards strictly making purchases from companies with robust CSR initiatives as they want their brands to reflect their own values. Millennials and Gen Z’s are paving the way for more ethically and sustainably sourced products to be produced. Through my personal interactions with companies that implemented CSR, I have always experienced both satisfaction and remained loyal to those companies. By supporting companies like Starbucks, I feel like I am not only being environmentally friendly but also helping them accomplish their environmental goals. Because these companies are dedicated to giving back to the community, I believe that I too am giving back to the community. If you are interested in purchasing from CSR companies, then make a quick search to discover companies that follow this initiative! Remember, it's never too late to help make a difference.