Three steps to a successful CSR strategy

Three steps to a successful CSR strategy

< Back to Articles | Topics: Trends | Contributors: Sarah Riley, R&G Strategic | Published: September 2, 2022

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has long been a hot topic for enterprise organizations, but companies of all sizes are starting to get curious about CSR.

A great CSR strategy doesn’t just positively impact our environment and society at large. It’s a means to:

  • More deeply engage your team
  • Attract talent
  • Reduce turnover
  • Fortify your reputation
  • Build customer trust
  • And yes—even boost your bottom line

But how and where to get started can be daunting. And there’s another catch: once you begin implementing your CSR plans, you’ll also want to think about how you promote your efforts to see the biggest return.

CSR goes deeper than simply consideration for your company’s social and environmental impact. When you’re doing it right, CSR provides value across the entire spectrum of your business activities. Here are 3 key steps to crafting your CSR strategy.

Step 1: Identify What Matters

A great CSR strategy sits at the centre of what matters to your community at large, and the environmental and social issues that factor into your success. If you’re stumped, start with your operational essentials. A bakery, for instance, relies on water and the physical health of employees to perform tasks like carry heavy items and knead dough. This puts a focus on water use and wellbeing.

Once you’ve identified potential social and environmental priorities, vet them with your community. Remember, your “community” means more than your C Suite! It’s your customer, your neighbour — even other businesses vital to your supply chain.

The biggest mistake small to medium-sized businesses make is allowing management teams to dictate a CSR approach. A CSR strategy handed down without widespread team engagement is the one most likely to be met with cynicism.

How do you find out what’s important to your employees and your wider business ecosystem? You ask! From focus groups to surveys, there is no “wrong” way to engage your community on what matters most.

Step 2: Invest and Measure

Now that you’ve outlined some key issues and areas of opportunity, it’s time to initiate CSR programming. This is where creative thinking comes in. The bakery identifying “water use” as a key issue might sponsor a nonprofit dedicated to preserving water quality or local watersheds.

A meaningful CSR tactic doesn’t have to be as sweeping as a new HR policy or a big charity investment. It can be as subtle as a single change in procurement. Making the switch to a more sustainable option in your supply chain can have a huge impact, from reducing waste to lessening negative effects on the environment.

No matter your program, remember the most important aspect: measurement. Without metrics, it’s impossible to communicate your impact. Whether it’s number of trees planted or volunteer hours, you’ll want to identify the key metrics that help your audiences understand what all this was for.

Step 3: Communicate

Don’t let your CSR efforts go unnoticed. Organizations who excel at CSR are able to help their audiences understand not only where they stand, but also exactly what kind of impact their CSR investment has had. The best CSR communications plans consider and engage both customers and your wider community.

So, should you plan and implement a CSR strategy? We think so! But don’t take our word for it. Pay attention to these statistics:

  • According to a global study by Neilson, 3 out of 4 millennials (a generation with the most spending power!) would pay extra for sustainable offerings.
  • S&P 500 companies making sustainability a core strategy outperform those that fail to show leadership.
  • 87% would purchase a product or service because a company supported an issue or cause they’re passionate about.

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< Back to Articles | Topics: Trends

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