Why corporate responsibility is important for your business (and community)

These days customers expect even small businesses to be doing something to help make the world a better place. So it’s time to look at your corporate responsibility program.

By Henry Brown

Corporate responsibility has always been around and many businesses have been founded on its guiding principles, but in the last few years, it has become ever more important for businesses in every industry.

When you think of corporate responsibility, you might think about corporate compliance. Energy companies are obliged to minimize the risk of oil leaks, for example, and must clean up as soon as possible. Manufacturers are similarly obliged to reduce the pollutants they release into the local environment – especially into rivers.

But this isn’t the only way companies should consider corporate responsibility in 2018. That you are as clean in your processes as possible should be taken for granted in our era of climate change awareness. Now is the time to go a step further. And this applies to small businesses as well as large corporations.

New challenges for corporate responsibility

Corporate responsibility now encompasses a wide range of ideas that companies should be working towards. The climate is, naturally, a huge issue, and many companies are now looking at how they can minimize their environmental impact. Similarly, in the wake of campaigns like #metoo and #timesup, sexism in all its forms must be readdressed in the workplace.

But your business should also be looking outwards. Working with charities and supporting local groups should be a part of your corporate responsibility pledge. Whether you offer funding to local kids football teams or create a t-shirt design to raise awareness about a nonprofit while running a marathon, charity work should be part of your business.

[amazon_link asins=’1107605253′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’aac64aa8-ddd3-11e8-a316-6505729697f1′]Why should you bother?

Corporate responsibility can be an expensive game and for many startups the idea that it can wait until you are more developed is prevalent. This is wrong for two main reasons: first, your customers will be looking at your corporate and social responsibility and using it to decide between you and other companies; second, corporate responsibility is an amazing way to get easy PR that highlights your commitment to the community you serve.

Even startups should be thinking about how they can incorporate corporate responsibility as soon as they open their doors. It might not be a big thing or even an expensive thing – as long as you are providing something valuable to your local community, a charity or the planet, you are showing your conscience.

As for the PR, it is so much easier to get into the papers for supporting a charity (who get the PR in with a neat little mention of your brand) than it is to send endless press releases about your products or services. Everyone loves a good news story and this is the simplest way to deliver one.

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To get started with your corporate responsibility program, sit down with your team to find out what causes are most important to you. Set a budget (large or small) for your activities and work out how you can spend the money to the greatest effect. You will be surprised by how quickly everyone gets on board and just how far as little as $100 will go.

The planet is facing huge change right now and everyone is looking to businesses to lead the way. How are you going to change the world?


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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