There are many positive aspects of creating a CSR plan; especially if you are a brand with ethical values, there’s even a better reason on why to plan and communicate the environmental + social impact made. Here’s what you need to consider in CSR for sustainable brands.
Customers want sustainable, eco-friendly products, and companies have been happy to provide them. Now, however, shoppers are looking for brands that make a long-lasting impact. Instead of falling for greenwashing, they’re seeking out businesses to take responsibility for their effect on the environment and the community.
By developing a corporate social responsibility plan, brands can share customers’ values and make a conscious effort to improve society as a whole. Here are a few ways sustainable brands can do just that.
1. Create Realistic Goals
Of course, the first step to creating any good plan is setting realistic goals. Accomplishing each one will allow businesses to track their progress and determine where they’d like to be in five, 10, or even 20 years. However, every goal should be realistic — something the brand can achieve without causing major disruption to day-to-day operations.
2. Educate and Involve Employees
Nearly 65% of workers won’t take a job if their employer doesn’t have a strong CSR policy. Meanwhile, the incoming Gen-Z workforce has become the first generation to prioritize purpose overpay. With everyone expecting more from brands, it’s essential to share practical goals and initiatives with the public, potential employees, and current team members. Educate employees on current and future endeavors and ask for their input and unique perspectives.
3. Hire an In-House Team
Larger companies and corporations that want to adopt multiple initiatives will benefit from establishing an in-house CSR team. This group of sustainably-minded individuals will head up any and all social responsibility plans, organize events and share details with management. They might also crowdsource ideas and launch internal awareness programs to promote company-wide involvement.
4. Fundraise and Donate
Many startups and small businesses don’t have enough money to make large philanthropic donations. However, they can still host fundraisers and invite employees and community members to make contributions. Raffles, charity dinners, and other similar events are also brilliant ways to collect funds and give back to the community.
5. Organize Volunteer Initiatives
Volunteering as a team can help employees build strong bonds with each other and their fellow community members. More importantly, it will promote integrity, collaboration, and even employee retention. Whether they’re serving food at a soup kitchen, cleaning up litter, or tutoring young kids, today’s workers want to be part of something bigger than themselves. The more often employers give them the opportunity to serve, the more likely they are to get involved and invest in the company long-term.
6. Invest in Community Development
While volunteering can benefit the community, the effects are relatively short-term. Brands can take social responsibility more seriously and promote lasting change by investing in an ongoing cause. Many companies accomplish this by partnering with a group like Bold Hope. This initiative empowers people to improve their circumstances through skills training, education classes, and agricultural projects.
7. Embrace Renewable Energy
With so many Americans calling for reduced emissions, many sustainable brands are also investing in renewable energy. From building solar-powered mobile units to drawing power from off-shore wind turbines, companies are embracing renewables and providing customers with clean energy. Of course, renewable energy projects may come with a hefty price tag, but they’ll soon pay for themselves.
8. Exercise Fair-Trade
Many sustainable companies are beginning to embrace fair trade as well. Fairtrade products are more sustainable than conventional products because companies provide workers a stable income to grow or make these items. In this exchange, both parties benefit, especially farmers and producers in developing countries.
Any brand is able to improve its supply chain and ensure fair trade standards, some good examples are these fair-trade chocolate brands, or ethically-made alcohol & spirits.
9. Collaborate with Like-Minded Brands
Small businesses that want to go sustainable may struggle to make the initial investment in clean energy and green products. In this case, they may consider collaborating with companies or other small businesses that share their values. Partnering with like-minded brands can help them make a more significant impact than they would on their own.
10. Minimize Waste
U.S. offices use more than 12 trillion sheets of paper each year. Sadly, most of it, including packaging ends up in landfills — along with plastic, styrofoam and other materials. Sustainable brands that want to make a difference typically embrace some form of a recycling program to combat this vast amount of garbage. However, they can also minimize excess waste by using fewer materials. Going digital, using less packaging, and eliminating plastic containers are just a few ways they might accomplish this. Recycle whenever possible, for example, try to find an ink cartridge program.
If it weren’t for the community and the planet, there would be no business. Brands would have no products and no one to sell to. Therefore, in order to remain sustainable, it’s important that corporations thank their customers and care for the Earth. They owe it to the world to be sustainable, show gratitude, and give back.