Corporate social responsibility: good for business and your brand

If implemented correctly, corporate social responsibility can reap rewards for a company, including building team spirit, improving working relationships and promoting a highly positive brand image.

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This article is taken from the latest issue of Relocate magazine – the must read for HR, global managers and relocation professionals.
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Organisations are increasingly considering their activities within the framework of corporate social responsibility (CSR). This is driven by a number of issues, including ethical, environmental and social concerns. By voluntarily integrating these within their business operations and their interactions with internal and external stakeholders, firms can demonstrate a positive force for change.As organisations have moved their operations into newly industrialising and developing countries, local social and environmental concerns have become particularly apparent. For example, global multinationals involved in agricultural production and processing will face concerns related to maintaining biodiversity in the natural world, as well as ensuring a lifestyle for local workers and communities that addresses both employment and their health and wellbeing. Extraction industries and those in manufacturing entering new locations of operation are under increasing pressure to create as little environmental impact/damage as possible, while increasing living standards for local employees and their communities.
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Entering a new country and starting up operations there brings significant challenges, as the correct balance between economic growth and environmental/ social responsibilities needs to be struck. Organisations with operations in established locations also need to consider how best to address environmental and social issues, leading to improvements for both local communities, as well as a wider range of global stakeholders.Organisations involved in local CSR projects are delivering a number of initiatives, including supporting local schools and youth groups, working with the elderly, and carrying out environmental work such as countryside, waterways and beach clean-ups. A prescribed number of working days may be allocated to CSR activity for which workers will receive their usual pay.

Positive - and negative - branding effects 

Being actively involved in CSR activity can prove to have a positive effect on an organisation’s brand. In addition, being able to join in with co-workers to fulfil CSR activities can be an enjoyable way to build team spirit and to foster a sense of giving back, thereby improving working relationships.Spring Issue 2020 out nowOrganisations that can demonstrate care for the environment and for social causes, balancing these with business objectives, are considered to be good employers and, as such, are attractive places to work. This helps to promote a highly positive brand image. This can be particularly attractive to Millennials, who increasingly comprise organisational workforces and are attracted by positive CSR organisational reputations. Having a moral and ethical brand image is also attractive to customers and so can help to boost sales and organisational growth.

Read more on Corporate social responsibility: a critical role for global mobility professionals

There is no doubt that CSR is good for business and the brand, and thus it is notable that more organisations are embracing and promoting their CSR principles publically.However, it is important to remember that CSR must be conducted morally and ethically. If organisations use CSR activities as a means of improving their branding but without true commitment, the benefits can be lost easily. Once a mismatch between intentions and actions is identified, negative publicity can prove highly destructive to a brand image. So organisations need to ensure that they follow through on promises articulated – and this might mean offsetting some profit to achieve CSR goals set.Climate change is a key issue today and organisations that do not demonstrate real action on this are likely to reap considerable negative press. Indeed, we are seeing examples of organisations that are major contributors to climate change, such as firms in the fossil fuel industry, having their sponsorships and advertising declined. This is suggesting the beginning of a trend that goes beyond rebuke and castigation to punishment for lack of action to make a positive difference to our planet. Such examples may indicate that committing to – and carrying out – change that clearly demonstrates environmental responsibility will become a new normal within CSR initiatives.

Rewarding sustainability and social responsibility

Sustainability and social responsibility initiatives that bring about meaningful change can achieve immense good and should not only be recognised for their contribution, but also shared to widen the adoption of best practice. So this year, the Relocate 2020 Awards will recognise excellent endeavours in sustainability and social responsibility, addressing the latest advances in climate change, environmental and social issues. 

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