What Is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is a self-regulation model for businesses to become – and remain – socially accountable to their customers, employees, stakeholders, peers, and community. Through its normal course of business, a company is able to have a more positive impact on society in a variety of areas (e.g. environment, local economy).

CSR is a broad concept and looks different for every company. Popular corporate social responsibility programs can include philanthropic and/or volunteer events such as environmental clean-up days and fundraising for wildlife preservation.

Corporate Social Responsibility Examples

Starbucks has three distinct pillars to their business model: people, planet, and coffee. One of their key 2020 initiatives was to provide over $10 million in grant money to local and global COVID initiatives. In the United States, this CSR initiative supported extending hunger relief and other assistance to both vulnerable communities and frontline workers.

Starbucks may be a global company with enormous resources, but even smaller businesses can support their local community with great impact.

Why Should a Company Practice Corporate Social Responsibility?

While companies don’t necessarily have to implement a CSR strategy, an increasing number of businesses prioritize these practices.

More Appealing to Investors & Consumers

Corporate behavior is often taken seriously by shareholders and stakeholders, and consumers are more ready to stop purchasing from companies who make unpopular political and/or social choices.

Generates Goodwill

Practicing CSR – or even investing in socially responsible investments – can generate goodwill among a business’ employees, stakeholders, and community. This may improve the brand image, increase customer loyalty, and even may even boost revenues.

Improves Employee Relationships

When implemented correctly, CSR can also strengthen employee bonds, foster better internal communication, and help employees feel more connected to various social programs or charities.

How Do I Start a CSR Program?

The International Organization for Standardization guide helps all sizes of companies find ways to be more socially responsible. These guidelines are designed to help companies create actionable and effective plans, regardless of their sector.