July 17, 2009

The Buzz: Corporate Social Responsibility

CSR. Just a few years ago, only representatives from major firms threw this phrase around as a PR jargon. Today it has become part of many people's daily vocabulary. Now days, it is almost expected for a major firm to have a CRS branch, committed to a few core causes and holding regular events and initiatives. As it turns out, combining good business smarts with socially conscious  practices can be a very beneficial move for the company in the long run. Employees want to work for socially responsible firms. A study that surveyed 750 MBAs from 11 top business schools showed that nearly all were willing to make a financial sacrifice to work for a company that they perceived as socially responsible. In addition, a Forbes article showed that 88% of Gen Y women and 82% of Y men believe it's important to be able to give back to community through work. By offering volunteer opportunities, contribution matching programs and externships with nonprofits, companies can not only provide socially conscious employees a platform to use their talents to help the community, but also give them a sense of company royalty and pride. Today's socially conscious consumers prefer brands associated with good causes. 74% of respondents are more likely to pay attention to a company’s message if that company has a deep commitment to a cause. Cause marketing is something many companies are picking up to promote their products and enhance their image - some companies that have done so successfully include Starbucks' Ethos Water, Gap's (Product) Red line, Tom's shoes to children in South Africa. Going green can saves companies greens, after all. According to an article on ITPro, companies who purchase eco-friendly PCs can reduce power consumption by over 20 per cent. In another example, in opening their environmentally friendly branches, PNC Bank has spent $100,000 less than a competitor spends on conventional branches. Surprising? Sure, but with a win-win situation, we are excited to see more of it. Got a firm with your favorite CRS initiatives? Leave a comment and we'll be sure to include a shout-out to them in our next post!