The sweet sound of CSR
Today we're talking about CSR - and nope, not the sugar brand kind.
CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility - we know you've heard of it because in 2009, it seems like one of those trendy things to be doing.
Think Coles and its Victorian Bush Fire Appeal or Starbucks' well-publicised work on improving the lives of poverty-stricken coffee farmers for example!
Big companies are definitely embracing it but is the concept of CSR about as lasting as hyper-colour t-shirts (remember those?)?
We decided to do some digging and now we're going to share our discoveries with you.
It didn't take us long to figure out that CSR (is not just a brand of sugar and...) is no fair-weather fashion trend.
Mission Australia defines it as a business's commitment to operating in a way that not only takes financial implications into account when making decisions, but also social and environmental ones.
Encouraging business big and small to embrace CSR is something that high level bureaucracies all over the world are studying closely.
Seems like the biggest obstacle really is education. People don't know what it's about or confuse it with things like sponsorship, which you could probably called a "dumbed-down" version of CSR.
Anyways, what was of real interest to our marketing minds was all this sweet evidence about the relationship between CSR and brand building.
Generally speaking, consumers are indicating a strong bias towards companies demonstrating a commitment to principles of CSR.
A recent poll of 645 women by marketer Heat Group found 70 per cent of respondents said awareness of a company's activities in the area of CSR influences their purchasing decisions.
Right now you're thinking that's all well and good if you are a big brand with lots of money to throw around on this sort of thing - that's because we were too.
Until we discovered the work of many experts on CSR and SMEs.
They are all focused on the collective influence of SMEs - especially since, according to the Australian Bureau of Stats, 90 per cent of all employing businesses have less than 20 employees.
So here's 10 simple actions you can take in your business to build an effective CSR approach:
- Recycle printer and toner cartridges
- Buy and use fairly traded products like tea and coffee
- Promote alternative forms of transport to work like walking or car pooling.
- Set up a payroll giving scheme for your staff
- Make sure lights, computers and other equipment are switched off at the mains every night.
- Pay staff, suppliers and creditors on time.
- Turn the office heating system down and have it checked regularly.
- Replace all lighting with low energy light bulbs.
- Print double-sided where possible and only print the first page of emails.
- Set up and promote flexible working for your staff.
For the most awesome and creative example of CSR we've ever come across, visit the Gruen Transfer website and check this out...
Maybe you've already embraced CSR in your business. Email us with your examples and we'll publish them in our next newsletter.