Brands Getting Corporate Social Responsibility Right

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Have you thought about why you choose to support certain brands and withhold support to some? Here’s a cue – Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). When companies choose to do something for the community and think beyond merely their bottom-line, it doesn’t just benefit them financially but also builds trust for them amongst consumers. To be associated with a socially inclined company makes consumers feel like they too are contributing and doing their bit. According to a study by consulting firm, Reputation Institute, 60% of “peoples willingness to buy, recommend, work for, and invest in a company is driven by their perception of it”.

Here are some companies that are setting benchmarks through their impressive initiatives to give back to the society:

Players in the retail industry can definitely learn a thing or two about social responsibility from Toms. Ever since its inception 12 years ago, Toms has been donated shoes to children in need, one pair for every pair sold. Till date it has been able to provide shoes to 86 million needy children! Company profits are used for building businesses and providing clean drinking water in less developed countries, as well as for providing medical treatment to the visually impaired. That’s not all, the company is known to be a strong advocate of anti-bullying and is associated with multiple NGOs, setting examples of ethical behaviour.

Much like Toms, Starbucks too has done some remarkable work in contributing to the community by supporting products like Ethos Water that has offered clean water to more than 1 billion people without access. The amount of grants committed so far by Ethos Water amounts to more than $6.2 million. Having always had its focus on being socially responsible, Starbucks’ latest initiative aims to provide work opportunities to more than 25000 veterans by 2025. In lieu of its effort to further diversity its workforce, the company has tied up with the UN refugee agency and is aiming to hire 10,000 refugee candidates by 2022.

American company, New Belgium Brewing Company, is not your average company by any yardstick. What principally distinguishes it from the rest is that it is owned entirely by its employees through a stock-ownership plan, making it a case-study in progressive management! The company runs on the belief that “social and environmental well-being are equally intertwined”. This ethos is reflected in the way it functions – it produces 18% of its own electricity on-site using solar panels and wastewater, as well as contributes to various eco-focussed organisations.

Pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer uses the term ‘corporate citizenship’ to denote its CSR initiatives that make for an integral aspect of the business. Pfizer’s commitment to global health is evident from the various initiatives undertaken by the company to create awareness about non-infectious diseases and provide healthcare to children and women who otherwise wouldn’t have the means to opt for the care they need. An example of this is when Pfizer reduced the price of its Prevnar vaccine used for pneumonia, ear and blood infections, exclusively for humanitarian groups’ use with those in need such as refugees and in other emergency settings.

How one must execute corporate social responsibility and to what magnitude is best decided by the company in question. This is just an illustrative list of how companies are integrating CSR practices towards improving the quality of life of the communities they impact. Are you doing something to protect the planet or to make an impact at a community level?


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