Companies are looking to ESG and CSR Strategy in every area of their footprint, including how it affects the environment, internal employee communities, and society at large.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental social governance (ESG) have a significant influence on an organization’s reputation, although this influence is frequently underestimated. However, public opinion may affect a wide range of decisions, including who decides to work for your company, which organisations collaborate with yours, and whether or not people decide to buy/engage – and rave – your product/services.
Take into account the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. BP had a solid sustainability reporting platform and was a market leader in the oil and gas sector before the crisis. Following the incident, BP came under fire from the leadership team for what they perceived as a lack of openness and compassion. Over ten years after the environmental catastrophe, which cost BP over $65 billion, they are still working to regain consumer confidence in their brand.

Social responsibility – the focus of the businesses

In response to the pandemic and social justice movements, businesses have now begun to focus on the benefit of the stakeholders, not just the shareholders. And this is significant in terms of employer branding: For instance, in a survey, employees mentioned that businesses should benefit all parties involved, including employees, customers, vendors and the communities at large. 

Customers’ trust in a brand decides their loyalty towards the brand. ESG positively affects customer loyalty. It is seen that customers tend to spend more on the brand they trust. 

ESG also results into more devoted clients. Trust is a determining factor for customers, according to Deloitte. In comparison to a brand they use but don’t trust as much, customers spend more on trusted brands. Additionally, consumers are also comfortable to share their data with the brand they trust more. 

What exactly is corporate social responsibility (CSR)

According to the United Nations, corporate social responsibility (CSR) refers to how businesses incorporate social and environmental concerns into their daily operations and relationships with stakeholders. Today’s organizations endeavour to strike a balance between economic, environmental, and social mandates, while still meeting the expectations of its shareholders.

How are CSR and ESG related?

According to Deloitte, the term environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) also applies to sustainability in a commercial setting. ESG criteria are a set of guidelines for business operations that take into account how a company’s actions may affect the environment, internal procedures, and the communities in which it works, as well as relationships with suppliers and customers. ESG factors has emerged as an essential parameter for investors and brokerage firms to assess organizations.

CSR refers to a specific organization’s business principles, whereas ESG is a more general commitment to sustainability. To put it simply, company can score a better ESG ratings with a strong CSR approach. In the long run, businesses should focus on developing an internal employer brand of corporate social responsibility that is robust and distinctive.

How an effective CSR strategy may help organizations?

  • Brand Image:  Businesses that do good are well perceive, whether it comes in the form of favorable publicity, an enhanced reputation, or the development of stronger community ties.
  • Brand awareness: A company’s active participation in and dedication to CSR may help keep it front of mind for both existing and potential consumers as well as workers, which will increase brand awareness and recognition.
  • Cost saving:  For instance, committing to cutting back on packaging is more efficient and beneficial to the environment.
  • Greater customer engagement: Customers are open to altering their buying habits to support environmentally conscious businesses. Customers are loyal to firms whose values align with their own, and a commitment to CSR enables businesses to demonstrate how their beliefs are lived out.
  • Enhance Employee engagement: Employees want to work for a firm that stands for something, especially millennials. By embracing CSR, you not only recruit motivated employees but also promote an atmosphere that encourages output, innovation, and professional development.
  • Increase market performance: A company’s financial performance can benefit from CSR, according to research.

Without a solid plan in place, your CSR initiatives won’t be a success. These pointers will help you get going.

Guidelines for creating a CSR plan

1. Believe in corporate social responsibility

Although CSR has many advantages for your business, employees and clients will be able to tell if you don’t truly believe in it. Avoid incorporating in CSR just for the sake of it. You must be passionate and committed to the social mission of your organization and devise a plan to accomplish it. 

2. Know your values, and how they are reflected in your community

What do you stand for and hold dear? You must be extremely clear about the principles you uphold as a company, and include these into your plan. Some businesses may begin with initiatives like charity assistance or fundraising for a cause that directly ties with their core principles. Consider include environmental social governance ideals in your mission statement to ensure that all employees are aware of them.

3. Localize your CSR

For effective CSR projects, a local emphasis must be taken into account. Understand how your actions may impact local communities, even if you run a worldwide firm with a global CSR strategy. How can your offices get involved in their immediate and extended communities? This helps your entire CSR activities gain momentum, credibility, and consistency.

4. Participation at all organizational levels

Executive support is necessary for a CSR plan, but employee engagement is as important. Employee participation in the process increases motivation and a feeling of autonomy and can foster innovation. When employees can influence or contribute to the strategy and initiatives, they are also more inclined to engage in CSR activities.

5. Recognize the financial impacts

In certain instances, establishing and implementing a CSR plan might require a significant upfront investment. Although it has many advantages for companies, you may still have to account to a variety of stakeholders, such as stockholders, investors, and workers.

When developing your CSR strategy, it’s important to comprehend and monitor a number of key metrics, including financial outlay, stock prices (if applicable), sales and production costs, and the return on your investment (ROI), which can include effects on revenue as well as indicators like reputation, employee retention, and engagement. Before starting a CSR program, make sure you understand what are all the business implications.

Businesses have a significant impact on society, and people anticipate organizations to contribute to a bigger cause and prove that they are not merely profit-driven business models. It’s not just wise, but also expected, to have a CSR plan.
Check out our Environmental, Social, and Governance report to discover more about Elitez’s dedication to create a better environment for our clients, our team members, and our local communities.