Consumers are more than ever concerned about what the companies they use the products of, are doing to promote good in the society. It has become extremely essential for businesses to think about more than just generating profits and to involve themselves in charitable, philanthropic and socially responsible activities to assure their consumers that they really care about the world they live in.
This concept of business has become popular and is largely talked about only lately in the market. However, consumers nowadays are so concerned about the socially responsible behavior of companies that they would boycott their products if they discover any sort of irregularity or irresponsible behavior regarding the society, the environment and the general well-being of any creature in the world. The concept of consumerism has revolutionized the way businesses used to run in the past. Evolving from the different approaches/concepts of business in different eras like the Production concept, the Sales concept, the Marketing concept, the Societal Marketing concept and the Customer Relationship concept, the ways of doing business have shifted largely from production-centric to human-centric approach.
Businesses themselves have become aware that whatever they do must be done in an ethical, environmentally friendly and socially beneficial manner in order to ensure that their business is sustainable. That is the reason why all big and reputed organizations like Microsoft, Starbucks, Infosys, Google, Walt Disney, Cisco Systems, Adidas, Intel, Levi Strauss, Dell, Apple, Sony and numerous others have been investing huge resources in CSR.
Corporate Social Responsibility is a business model that helps a company be socially accountable- to itself, its stakeholders, and the public. It is a topic largely discussed in this era of Business. It is regarded as a tool to improve brand image and reputation, increase customer satisfaction, enhance customer loyalty and eventually boost revenues for the company. That’s why, they take responsibility not only for the economic consequences of their activities but also for the social and environmental implications they create.
Companies working in the areas of nutrition, access to water, climate change, deforestation, skills development, insecurity, food scarcity, access to health care, pollution and these kinds of pressing concerns are not only admired but also promoted whole-heartedly by consumers.
Because consumers are aware that businesses are the biggest resource utilizers and wealth creators, they have realized that they can play the biggest role in mitigating those issues as well.
The gist about why companies need to invest in CSR is that;
- If a company does not continue to offer high-quality products and services, customers will stop buying.
- If they do not treat their workers well they’ll leave.
- If they pollute the environment, their public reputation will suffer.
Along with these cons of not investing in CSR, the pros follow as;
- Being socially responsible improves their reputation
- Attracts the best talent
- Builds customer loyalty
- And eventually turns a healthy profit
So, because the concept of sustainability, social welfare and consumerism are proliferating, CSR has become a necessity to every business, be it manufacturing, banking, service, healthcare, construction, retail, telecommunications, tourism, hospitality, forestry, energy or any. Many companies have benefited a lot from their concern for welfare, like;
- Levi’s was named on the Engage for Good’s 2020 Golden Halo Award winner, which is the highest honor reserved for socially responsible companies for its “Worker Well-being initiative to implement programs focused on the health and well-being of supply chain workers.
- Starbucks was named one of the world’s most ethical companies in 2021 by Ethisphere for its commitment to ethical sourcing of coffee beans.
- Microsoft’s orientation to serve globally the needs of communities and fulfil their responsibilities to the public through Supporting Local Communities, Educating and Empowering workers, Health and Safety, Gender Equality and Minorities, Energy Consumption, Waste reduction and much more have added to the public image and admiration.
As these firms demonstrate, a deep and abiding commitment to corporate social responsibility can pay dividends. By learning from these initiatives and taking a values-driven approach to business, we can help our organizations thrive and grow, even while confronting global challenges. Hence, in order to bolster their image and build a brand, companies, especially in the 21st century, must invest in CSR.