Peter Baines has the simple key to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and engaging consumers through its application – it’s about “doing good, by doing good.”
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is finally coming into its own. No longer should businesses splash out a percentage of their net profit to the local footy club or latest disaster fund and expect nothing other than a nice photo opportunity in return. The new wave of CSR is all about “doing good by doing good”; like other company strategies, businesses should expect a return on investment for their donations.
Whether your business goal is to reduce costs, increase profit or become a better corporate citizen, if you implement an effective CSR program, it will be good for business.
CSR had, and for some still has, the connotation that giving money is the sum total of an effective CSR program.
But a fully-integrated CSR program is now much more than the traditional “giving a share of the net profit” and businesses are finally making it very much part of their DNA, aligning it to their business and values model.
So, how does “going green” make you money?
If you need evidence that there is money to be made by embracing sustainability, run a Google search on sustainability reporting and you’ll see that many businesses are now going green simply because it makes good commercial sense to do so.
When Optus changes a portion of their fleet of vehicles from petrol to diesel, are there benefits to the environment? Yes there are. Does the reduced spend on fuel over time generate cost savings? Yes it does.
When Westpac set a target of increasing their recycling rates in the Sydney head office from 59 percent of waste to 75 percent, does that benefit the community from a reduction in landfill waste? Yes it does. Is there a direct saving back to the company in the reduced spend on removal of the waste and the savings they generate from recycling? Yes there is. Just as when they seek to reduce their usage of office paper by 75 tonnes from 1415 to 1340 tonnes per annum, the benefits are again obvious.
When Wesfarmers make it a key priority to reduce the water usage in their industrial businesses by using reclaimed or recycled water, it delivers benefits to the community; but again the cost benefits are what drives this and many other initiatives in these areas.
To enjoy the benefits of a CSR program, it’s not necessary that you be a multinational the size of Wesfarmers or Westpac. Many businesses are seeing that it makes sense to revisit what CSR has meant to them in the past. Businesses are realising not only are there savings to be made in changing the way they operate; as customers become more informed and discerning around the type of providers they wish to work with, there is the opportunity to save on resources, while winning new business at the same time.
“Going green” will save you money and improve your brand image, and even discern you from your competitors, but it may also build customer loyalty and help you reach previously untapped markets.
Customers have the opportunity and desire to be more informed and various applications exist for customers to trace the source of the materials and labour used through the entire supply chain by scanning their bar code or swing ticket. Companies who are seriously dedicated to ethical employment conditions can promote this to their customers at every opportunity.
Engaging with a charity is often a “heart” decision for those making the choice as to where their dollars will go.
When a company decides to go green they have the opportunity of engaging not only the heart, but also the head, proving that you won’t just save money – you will also open new opportunities to bring new income sources into your business.
Peter Baines OAM’s book, Doing Good by Doing Good is available NOW in paperback RRP $34.95 from www.peterbaines.com.au.