Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a type of self-regulation that demonstrates a company’s accountability and commitment to advancing the social and environmental well-being of communities and society at large.
The importance of corporate social responsibility to the environment and society is apparent. However, CSR is also important to a company’s welfare. Overall, it increases success in business by improving reputation.
As a company, you can implement CSR in your organization in different ways. Check out some of the best corporate social responsibility examples below:
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Companies like Coca-Cola that produce products that emit high levels of carbon dioxide must be actively involved in helping the environment.
Data shows that Coca-Cola has accounted for 60 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in the past twelve years – at least five million metric tons per year.
For this reason, the company has upped its sustainability efforts to make life better for the community.
To fight climate change, the company plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent before 2030. It has invested heavily in its Science Based Target (SBT) to make the plan achievable.
As part of their effort against waste, Coca-Cola is devoted to using only eco-friendly packaging solutions. The plan is to make all packaging recyclable globally by 2025.
Furthermore, Coca-Cola aims to collect and recycle cans and bottles for each sale. In 2021, the company collected about 61 percent of the number of cans and bottles they sold for recycling or refilling.
If you’re a company that produces similar products, you can model Coca-Cola.
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Like in producing cans and bottles, non-renewable energy sources release significant greenhouse gas emissions.
Google is one of the companies leading the fight toward renewable energy development. News reports confirm that the company has invested about $3.5 billion in renewable energy projects around the world.
In 2020, Google reported a 100 percent match of its global electricity consumption with renewable energy purchases. In other words, the company contributes to renewable energy development as much as it uses non-renewable resources.
In perspective, this is huge. Google is the number one platform on the internet. Billions of people use Google’s products and services daily; hence, the company’s data centers perform immeasurable computing.
Aside from investing in renewable energy, Google is also dedicated to reducing the amount of energy it uses.
Reports show that since 2015, the company has maintained the same amount of electrical consumption while increasing its computing power about seven times.
Ultimately, the company plans to use only carbon-free energy in all its locations worldwide by 2030.
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As part of efforts to give back to society, Johnson & Johnson is investing in ensuring safe and clean water worldwide. Impressively, it’s just one of the four ways the company is keeping up with its sustainability goals.
The idea came up when one of the company’s facilities in India almost shut down due to water scarcity and contaminated supply. Subsequently, it installed a specialized filtration system to develop clean water through recycling.
Now, the company is focused on installing the same in its facilities in other parts of the world. In addition, the company is researching ways to reduce water consumption in its manufacturing process.
Johnson & Johnson explicitly states in its credo that it is responsible to the communities it operates in and is dedicated to protecting its environment and natural resources.
The effort to develop clean water sources is one of the ways the company keeps its promise, and it’s a perfect CSR example.
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We’ve looked at how non-renewable energy sources and cans and bottles release carbon dioxide into the environment.
Cars – transportation in general – contribute far more, accounting for around 27 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in the US. It’s the largest contributor in the country.
Companies like Tesla, which produces electric vehicles, are doing their part in reducing carbon emissions. In 2020, customers who drove Tesla cars helped the environment avoid about five million metric tons of carbon emissions.
Tesla further plans to recycle and produce new batteries from every battery they receive from customers, ensuring that up to 92 percent of their raw materials will be reused.
With such a development, it’s the corporate social responsibility of other automobile manufacturers to reduce their carbon emissions. The Ford Motor Company is setting a good example for others to follow.
The company is not only focused on reducing carbon emissions, but it aims to produce only carbon-neutral vehicles by 2050.
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Making donations is one of the best ways to demonstrate your philanthropic and corporate social responsibility.
As a company, you’ll typically donate to organizations and charities in your industry. A perfect example is Pfizer and its efforts during the peak of the 2020 pandemic.
At the height of the crisis, the company donated $40 million in medical and philanthropic financial grants to help combat the adverse effects on global health in the United States and other countries.
The donation was instrumental in responding to the immediate requirements of partnering health organizations to contain the virus’s spread inside communities. It also helped fortify fragile healthcare systems against foreseeable public health risks.
Aside from the external efforts, Pfizer also invested internally in developing a vaccine to control the virus. Eventually, in collaboration with BioNTech, it produced the first vaccine to receive validation from the World Health Organization.
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The Toms shoe brand pioneered charitable donations for years with its scheme to give back to society. For every pair of shoes a customer purchases, the company gives a pair to someone else in need.
The company launched this program in 2006 and officially retired it in late 2019. For the 13 years during which the program was active, Toms donated more than 95 million shoes.
The decision to end the program was due to the expense. Anyone would agree that donating more than 95 million shoes also requires millions in finance.
It’s one of the downsides of prioritizing helping society and communities over making a profit, which is what CSR demands.
Nevertheless, Toms set an excellent example for other consumer goods manufacturers.
For instance, State Bags is donating fully-packed backpacks for every bag purchased. The company has donated more than 200,000 bags so far.
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According to the WHO, more than 820 million people are hungry worldwide. Despite this, the World Food Program reports that about 1.3 billion tons of food, worth about $1 trillion, are lost or wasted annually.
Many companies have made it a corporate social responsibility to fight food wastage in their organization. Google, once again, sets a good example.
In its 2016 report, Google avoided wasting up to 1.5 million pounds of food between 2015 and 2016. In 2022, you’d expect this figure to be a lot higher.
Currently, the company uses technology from Leanpath to monitor kitchen-prep food waste in over 100 cafés and kitchens worldwide.
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Ethical corporate social responsibility demands that all employees be treated fairly. One of the primary debates on fair treatment for all is the question of equal pay.
If you want to implement equal pay in your company, you can do it like the Paris-based commerce media company, Criteo.
The wage gap between men and women in the company is zero. Workers earn what they deserve irrespective of their gender.
Criteo performs regular gender pay equity analysis to ensure the wage gap remains zero. The analysis helps identify any bias and discrepancies, which are resolved immediately.
Furthermore, the company accesses new workers based on their skills and work experience instead of their previous salary levels.
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The world’s largest coffeehouse chain, Starbucks, is one of the companies keeping up with their corporate social responsibility – particularly in the area of employment.
The company has a goal to hire up to 5,000 US veterans and military spouses every year, starting in 2018. It already hired over 7,700 between 2013 and 2018, in line with efforts to hire up to 10,000 veterans.
This is their social responsibility to the military to support transitioning service members. So far, the company has impacted more than 440,000 veterans, spouses, and communities. In particular, the company has supported over 25,000 military families.
Aside from the military, Starbucks is also committed to fighting racial and social equity in employment. Both are major issues in society presently.
In 2020, the company launched a mentorship program for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), increasing their presence in the organization.
Starbucks has also stated that it’ll make all data on its current workforce public so anyone can track the diversity of its workforce.
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Now that you know some examples of corporate social responsibility, check out the different categories below. Perhaps, you can invent ingenious means to contribute to society and communities.
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Also known as environmental stewardship, environmental responsibility is the concept that companies should act in an ecologically beneficial way.
It’s one of the most widespread types of corporate social responsibility due to global issues like climate change.
As a result, reducing water consumption, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and the use of single-use plastics and other wastes are some popular examples of environmental responsibility.
You can contribute as a company by utilizing sustainable resources, recycled or partially recycled materials, and renewable energy.
Furthermore, activities like sponsoring research, planting trees, and donating to organizations with a similar goal are ideal.
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The primary goal of ethical responsibility is to ensure that a company conducts itself in an honest and ethical manner.
It’s the concept that all stakeholders, including investors, employees, suppliers, and consumers, should be treated fairly.
As a company, you can implement ethical corporate social responsibility in relatively simple ways. One example is ensuring your workers receive liveable salaries, irrespective of the minimum wage set by the state or federal government.
Many companies have procedures to ensure they aren’t buying products made using forced or child labor. This is in line with free trade norms, which is a crucial part of ethical responsibility.
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In simple terms, philanthropic responsibility refers to a company’s intention to actively improve the world and society.
This type of corporate social responsibility incorporates environmental and ethical responsibilities. However, it has to do more with donations.
As a company, giving back to the communities you operate in and making donations to organizations that support your corporate missions are part of your philanthropic responsibility.
Some companies give back by holding fundraisers or dedicating a percentage of their net income. Generally, you can either donate to charities and nonprofits or launch your own charity or nonprofit organization.
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You must make serious financial decisions if your company decides to undertake environmental, philanthropic, and ethical social responsibilities.
For example, increasing workers’ wages, donating to other organizations, and procuring products from clean sources involve spending money.
As a result, economic responsibility involves ensuring that your company backs all these key financial decisions. Simply put, you must demonstrate that your financial decisions prioritize doing good over making a profit.
In practical terms, one example of economic responsibility is choosing a supplier that uses environmentally friendly materials, even if it costs you more.
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Making all the key decisions to ensure your company maintains a good CSR profile may seem like giving too much. However, corporate social responsibility has loads of benefits that justify its importance.
Some of these benefits include:
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If you’re unaware, many customers consider your public image before purchasing your product or service.
Good corporate social responsibility records make your brand appear more appealing to customers.
Customers can decide to patronize you not because you have the best products but because they like what you do.
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Nowadays, many companies get into the news for the wrong reasons, and this affects their brand recognition.
You can do the opposite by engaging in corporate social responsibility efforts. Your company will be in the news for good reasons – donation to charity, increased workers’ salary, etc.
In the long run, more people will know about your brand. Away from the CSR efforts, they get to know the products or services you sell.
Clearly, if people keep hearing positive news about your company, you become more popular compared to your competitors in your industry.
You can push your competitors to also engage in CSR, which is a win for everyone. The world needs more companies to embrace their corporate social responsibilities.
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In terms of production and goods procurement, corporate social responsibility endeavors can help you cut costs.
Notably, it weighs more on environmental responsibility. For example, if you decide to reduce water consumption and use recycled materials and renewable energy sources, you’ll be spending less.
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Part of the economic responsibility requires prioritizing doing good over making a profit. However, doing such is worthy of publicizing.
There’s nothing wrong with publicizing your corporate social responsibility efforts on social networks and other media platforms – online or offline.
This will give you more engagement from customers, a general audience, partners, and more. In today’s digital age, such engagement is a catalyst to achieving monumental business success.
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By encouraging activities like volunteering, you foster both personal and professional development and make your company a more happy and productive environment.
Hence, your CSR efforts won’t only have an external effect on the public, but they’ll also have an internal impact on your employees.
In addition to encouraging better employee performance, CSR can greatly increase your chances of attracting and retaining the best individuals in your industry.
Studies have shown that workers prefer to work for companies with a positive public image.
To have a transparent understanding of what customer social responsibility demands, you should also know about the downsides. It does have a couple, especially on small businesses.
Large companies can afford to allocate a significant portion of their annual income to corporate social responsibility initiatives. On the other hand, it’ll be a struggle for small businesses.
Some small businesses do have difficulty attracting capital investment. A key means of benefiting from CSR is media publicity, which would also mean additional costs.
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As a result, small businesses are not advised to engage in extensive CSR as it could lead to their collapse due to a lack of financial resources. Large companies also suffer some downsides.
Undoubtedly, most people who invest in companies do so to make a high profit. On the other hand, maintaining a good CSR profile means prioritizing good over profit.
As a result, if you’re going to be a CSR-inclined company, you should expect fewer investments. Nevertheless, as explained previously in the benefits, it’s possible to make a profit still while following CSR standards.
There’s a risk of not always getting the desired outcome with CSR. For example, you may have all measures in place to maintain your ethical responsibility – procuring products from clean sources, for instance.
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If there’s any mistake along the way, some people may consider your efforts to be publicity stunts. Such developments can have a severe impact on your company’s records.
Nevertheless, these downsides can be easily avoided by creating a balance in your CSR efforts.
More companies are embracing their corporate social responsibility. It’s an activity that has both positives and negatives. However, the negatives are almost non-existent if done correctly.
If you’re wondering where to begin as a company, you can follow the best corporate social responsibility examples in this article.
In addition, you can come up with new ways from the four different types explained.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing.
Tom has been a full-time internet marketer for two decades now, earning millions of dollars while living life on his own terms. Along the way, he’s also coached thousands of other people to success.