Forget CSR. Be a good corporate citizen
It's not uncommon for any company today to have a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department, serving as a commitment to manage the social, environmental, and economic effects of its operations responsibly.
While your CSR efforts may be noble, we argue for a stronger model of corporate citizenship: how you exercise your company’s rights, obligations, privileges, and overall responsibility within your local and global environments.
Just as sustainability needs to be integrated into the core of your business in order to fully reap the rewards, corporate responsibility doesn’t work unless it is also weaved into your core business model, and not simply a PR-driven side gig.
Good corporate citizenship has its perks:
- Four in every five millennials expect the brands they shop with to display good corporate citizenship, and two-thirds of them are prepared to switch to a more expensive brand that does so.
- Corporate responsibility influences consumer behavior more than price.
- 50% of millennials want to work for a company with ethical practices.
And, last but not least:
- Being a good corporate citizen is good for your bottom line.
“50% of millennials want to work for a company with ethical practices”
Get inspired: How other companies are acting as citizens
🔧 Put your assets to work for good. During the Nepal earthquake in 2015, LinkedIn used its tools to match drone experts to the Digital Humanitarian Network, a humanitarian organization that was responding on the ground.
🤝 Collaborate with experts in the field. Last year, WeTransfer, Headspace, and other companies and philanthropists teamed up with nonprofit organization RIP Medical Debt to pay off $30 million of medical debt in Los Angeles. RIP Medical Debt estimates that WeTransfer’s donation will clear the debt of about 16,000 people. WeTransfer developed the solution together with public officials, community leaders, and local cause groups. They intentionally recruited other donors from the community to form a task force that can now talk about what’s next and how to implement it.
🏡 Make customers the beneficiaries of your pilots. In Belgium, Bosch launched the Papillon project in collaboration with social enterprise Samenlevingsopbouw West-Vlaanderen to help low-income families reduce costs with resource-efficient household appliances. Their long-term goal is to move away from a linear economic model towards a circular business model.
💝 Lend interested employees to worthy causes. Microsoft supports Code.org to bring computer science education to all students to equip them with future-proof skills. They have trained millions of young people digital skills and computer science, 50% of whom are female and 80% of whom are from underserved communities.
How to be a good corporate citizen
Need help putting people and planet at the center of your corporate citizen strategy? Book a sprint with Limelights to develop and test your ideas.
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