Growing Responsibly: Using CSR To Boost Your BusinessAnil Birla | July 18, 2015
Most executives, when asked about CSR, will tell you that it’s nothing different from donating to charity. Some will even say that it’s a fad. However, there are a few who look at it as a creative opportunity to take their organisation to the next level. These are people who have identified CSR as a way to give back to society and achieve incredible returns at the business end as well. Savvy business leaders have also understood that corporate actions towards CSR boosts return on investment. Vardaan believes that in the long run the spending on CSR yields many fold returns – both tangible & non tangible
With the 2013 Companies Act in place, businesses have gone into overdrive, designing and implementing CSR strategies to cement their place as a responsible and socially aware organisation. At Vardaan, Social Responsibility is not just considered as a statutory compliance need; it’s embedded deep into the DNA of an organization when earning responsible profits. Let’s take a look at how CSR can be highly advantageous to your organisation and its growth.
Getting Closer To Your Customer
Every company knows how hard it is to gain customers and retain them for a long time. CSR can help businesses reel in customers with relative ease, and keep them engaged for the long run. According to studies done in 2012 by Cone Communications and the results of the 2012 Corporate Social Return Trend Tracker, 86% of respondents were more likely to trust companies that reported the results of their CSR efforts. In addition, 82% of those surveyed were also more likely to purchase products or services from companies that demonstrated their CSR results over those that didn’t.
People want to support businesses that do good for the community, because if they help the organisation, they indirectly help themselves. Just to reiterate how important customer engagement is, 40% of those surveyed would not even consider purchasing from companies which didn’t publish their CSR results. If an organisation does careful market research, and involves itself—transparently— in a socially relevant cause, it could lead to a massive increase in its consumer base.
Saving More Than You Spend
The beauty of CSR lies in the countless ways in which it can be implemented. You don’t always have to look for something on the outside to invest in. Allocating capital towards little things like recycling of waste or alternative sources of energy can save you a lot more money than you expect.
Smart businesses not only recycle waste but also try & use the waste to incorporate it in its business model. And if this happens in a manufacturing process it hugely impacts the bottom- line.
Energy costs are extremely high these days and any organisation can reduce this expenditure by implementing energy efficiency programs in their businesses. Not only do you conserve precious energy resources, you’re setting up a system that leads to huge savings at the end of the year.
Bringing In The Money
A well-designed CSR strategy can be perfect bait for big investors. Being involved with a social cause outside your business domain makes you competitive and reduces the risk of sudden damage to your reputation, and your sales. Most investors will see this and readily invest in your company.
Adeline Hinderer, Trade Counselor for the European Union to the US, says, “Companies are actively demonstrating to investors that corporate social responsibility makes good business sense, and the firms are already seeing the benefits it can bring them in terms of risk management and attracting investment." Additionally, investors are more likely to give money to businesses which are involved in supporting a cause they also support.
Working For A Cause
A survey on employee engagement by CRStrategies and Mandrake came up with these results -
● 44% of young professionals said they would discount an employer with a bad reputation and nearly half said corporate social responsibility policies should be compulsory
● Seven out of 10 employees in organizations that are viewed by employees as socially responsible rated senior management as having high integrity compared with just one in five employees who were negative about their employer’s CSR record.
● 80% of respondents would prefer working for a company that has a good reputation for environmental responsibility.
People want to work for an organisation which is socially aware and actively involves itself in supporting a cause. In fact, in a Net Impact survey, 53% of workers said that a job where they can make a social impact was important to their happiness, and 72% of students about to enter the workforce agreed. Many were even okay with a pay cut to work for an organisation which was more socially responsible.
Think of CSR as a long-term investment and more importantly, a serious business growth strategy. In the process of helping a community or sustaining the environment, what you actually end up doing is responsibly sustaining the future of your business.