Your first question may be, “Just what is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?” We see CSR demonstrated in a variety of ways in areas such as:
o Contributing to local community programs through financial support and personal involvement
o Using packaging and containers that are environmentally-friendly
o Using low-emission and high mileage vehicles where possible
o Seeking more efficient manufacturing processes, etc.
o Utilizing responsible advertising, public relations and business conduct
o Exercising fair treatment of suppliers/vendors, contractors and shareholder
o Implementing fair and equitable treatment of employees
o Upholding workplace safety, equal opportunity employment and labor standards
Actions such as these not only uphold today’s business standards, but they also pave the way for future generations. In years past, many of these elements were considered almost anti-business and some had to be enforced by governmental regulation.
Successful companies such as Tom’s of Maine (producer of natural personal care products) and Newman’s Own have practically been built on CSR. More and more companies – public and private – are following the elements of CSR. Google is a desired workplace because of the way they treat their employees: great benefits, great food in the employee cafeteria, exercise equipment – you name it, Google provides it.
Recognizing CSR in today’s business climate not only increases shareholder/investor interest, but also increases value. Socially-conscious companies are considered sound investments. They attract buyer interest and acquire higher selling prices when it comes time to sell. After all, most buyers want to find a business with the following attributes:
• Good relations with the local community
• Products and/or services that are meeting the current trends in the marketplace and are positioned to meet future trends
• Positive relations with employees and low-turn-over
• Excellent customer loyalty
• Good relationships with suppliers and vendors
• No “skeletons” in the company closet
In addition, good environmental practices reduce costs, create efficiencies and provide excellent public relations. Good employee relations make for happy workers, which translates to higher productivity and lower absenteeism. Good relationships with customers and suppliers eliminate, or greatly reduce, the possibility of legal entanglements.
All in all, Corporate Social Responsibility not only creates additional value and helps in creating a higher selling price when that time comes – it is also very good business for now and in the future.