Brand Image and the Importance of CSR in the New Digital Age Part 2

This week we’re diving into how CSR can benefit your company directly. Let’s get started!

csr part 2 image

By Matt Gallagher

Increasing Employee Morale

Nearly 87 percent of companies with CSR programs have employees who exhibit strong company loyalty, according to the 2012 Edelman good purpose study. It feels good to support a cause with both our dollars and time.  An effective CSR policy entices consumers to support a brand, and it encourages employees to stay on board and contribute. Therefore, the social benefit companies contribute is effectively an investment in their brand that has tangible effects on employee morale and retention (ultimately saving on recruiting costs).

CSR Improves Family and Work Cohesion

Increasing employee morale through an effective CSR program improves personal life integration and helps to build a bridge of loyalty to the company, increasingly important as work and family life become blurred in the digitally connected age, according to a 2008 study conducted by Boston University’s School of Management.

“Interestingly, the research shows that CSR can help employees feel less stressed when they feel they are effectively balancing the needs of work and family,” associate professor C.B. Bhattacharya, professor Sankar Sen, and doctoral candidate Daniel Korschun wrote in the study. “Integration between the two parts of employees’ lives is enhanced when they interpret their employers’ socially responsible behavior as an indication that the company places the same importance on personal values that they do themselves.”

CSR Prioritizes Costs to Save Companies Money

In addition to improving a brand’s image, CSR also has tangible benefits on helping companies cut costs, ultimately improving profit. “Empirical research shows that being environmentally proactive results in cost and risk reduction,” Carroll and Shabana stated in their paper.

Climate Corps, the Environmental Defense Fund’s summer internship for business school students, helped corporations to “cut 1.6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity use and avoid more than one million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually, and has saved $1 billion in net operational costs” since 2008, according to Time Magazine.

Wal-Mart saved $150 million in 2013 through its sustainability programs and $231 million in 2012 by expanding its waste diversion and recycling programs. General Mills is on a path to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent in 2015. The company expects its initiatives to save $20 million over the next several years.

csr future city photo

 

Sustainability and a Vision for the Future

Ultimately, CSR is about looking towards the future, helping companies plan and prepare for challenges and opportunities down the road. “Indeed, CSR is an effort to look at the company’s long-term interest and ensuring that the company’s future is… well… sustainable,” CSR pundit James Epstein-Reeves wrote in Forbes. “…It is a shift from worrying about the next fiscal quarter’s financial results to the impact business decisions today have on financial (and social) results 10 years from now.”

Essentially, CSR inspires companies to be proactive rather than reactive. “This basically means that proacting (anticipating, planning and initiating) is more practical and less costly than simply reacting to social problems once they have surfaced,” states Carroll and Shabana in their paper The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility.

 

Next week, we’ll be discussing how UniversalGiving can help you start your own CSR program and how our clients have benefitted from their involvement with NGOs around the world. Check back next Thursday!

 

  1. Retrieved 20 August 2015 from http://www.edelman.com/news/u-s-consumers-feel-most-responsible-to-help-yet-involvement-in-societal-issues-declines-for-the-first-time-look-to-marketers-to-bridge-the-gap/
  2. Bhattacharya, C.B., Sankar Sen, and Daniel Korschun. “Using Corporate Social Responsibility to Win the War for Talent.” MIT Sloan Managemennt Review. N.p., 1 Jan. 2008. Web. 4 Sept. 2015.
  3. “Why Companies Can No Longer Afford to Ignore Their Social Responsibilities.” Time Magazine. N.p., 28 May 2012. Web. 4 Sept. 2015.
  4. Kaften, Cheryl. “Wal-Mart Leads Companies Investing in Solar.” The Motley Fool. N.p., 17 Oct. 2013. Web. 20 August 2015., http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/10/17/walmart-leads-us-commercial-sector-with-whopping-8.aspx.
  5. Retrieved 20 August 2015 from www.generalmills.com/~/media/Files/sustainability/GM_energy.ashx
  6. Epstein-Reeves, James. “Six Reasons Companies Should Embrace CSR.” Forbes, 21 Feb. 2012. Web. 20 August 2015., http://www.forbes.com/sites/csr/2012/02/21/six-reasons-companies-should-embrace-csr.
  7. Carroll, Archie B., and Kareem M. Habana. “The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility: A Review of Concepts, Research and Practice.” International Journal of Management Reviews. The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial RegulatioJuly 2011. Web. 4 Sept. 2015.
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