10 June 2021
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Covid-19 has raised a magnifying glass up the corporate handling of social responsibility, and LK are pleased to see so many businesses rising to the challenge!
Today, CSR is no longer a philanthropic, extracurricular activity. It is the missing puzzle piece employers have been searching for to finish the jigsaw of ‘ultimate sustainability’. Its positive impact on the bottom-line is undeniable, and with such a heavy influence on reputation amongst consumers, CSR refuses to be known as another passing fad. But how can businesses who want to make an ethical transformation know where to start? And who do they need to be looking at for inspiration? Lucas Kennedy have rounded up three of the most effective CSR trends for you to jump on!
The first is increased transparency, and due to the constant updates to GDPR this is, and will continue to be, relevant across the corporate population.
To help you understand the benefits of featuring increased transparency as part of your CSR programme, we have broken the beneficiaries into three groups…
Individuals now have more rights to the handling of their data than ever before; demanding the businesses in which they are contributing to, disclose their information.
And if the GDPR updates weren’t forming enough ammunition, there is now an unlimited amount of knowledge at the fingertips of consumers: on their feeds, their ad breaks even their lock screen notifications! This means that every disclosure a business makes is perpetually at the consumer’s disposal.
Consumer-decision making, is ultimately what drives most businesses and there has been a lot of research into the factors that might influence a consumer’s decision, many of which reference CSR on that list.
Utilising the media to expose your company’s CSR programme can help to establish a good reputation amongst your consumer community. This creates brand awareness but also gives the employer a chance to control the narrative. Members of the public who identify with your mission statement will be more likely to invest in your product/services.
The benefits for employees of organisations with CSR programmes are boundless. Corporate ‘giving’ creates a virtuous cycle within the company and filters down from top to bottom. This means that employees who are offered CSR benefits or work for a company who they believe are making a difference, are more likely to perform better. They become more productive, creative and mirror the same ethical behaviour within the workplace, ultimately boosting morale and teamwork participation, impacting that precious bottom-line.
A transparent CSR model, accompanied by a business’s ability to clearly (and honestly) document their findings, can create the perfect foundation for a trusting, long-lasting relationship between a potential investor and their investee. It can mitigate potential risks and positively impact the business’ reputation amongst the investment community. Ultimately, as an employer, you can then use this relationship to leverage new growth opportunities and increase profit.
It’s clear that companies are now comprehending the significance of documenting their CSR data to effectively meet investor expectations. Between 2011 and 2014, the percentage of S&P 500 companies publishing annual CSR reports actually jumped from 20- 75%
The second trend is global companies acting locally.
Regardless of company reach, even the largest organisations are recognising the value of localisation.
Many Corporate Social Responsibility models, encourage donations to local charities; the sourcing of local produce from NPOs and the funding of local initiatives. By following these prompts a company can impact the development of their community and when accompanied by a skilled marketing team, can once again cement their local reputation.
Equally, by simply making a point of sourcing local talent, a business can meet their corporate social responsibilities. A local workforce can take advantage of shared frames of reference and shorter commutes while their employers can take pride in the knowledge that they are contributing to the average household income of their community.
Green Technology is the last of our three trends but it is arguably the most important, having taken far too long, some may say, to become a ‘buzzword’ amongst the corporate community.
Climate change is now impossible to ignore, with the IPCC reporting that we need to keep global warming to 1.5°C, rather than the previously agreed 2°C. Any warmer and we expose our planet to collapsed ecosystems, rising sea-levels and potentially uninhabitable environments. With this in mind, companies are now less likely to rely on non-renewable resources to fuel their progression.
Many offices are going paperless, decreasing the brightness on their monitors, removing individual trash cans, printing double sided and turning off their computers overnight, but Green Technology takes the movement one step further and Workday does a superb job at illustrating how…
Having recently committed to science-based emission targets, which aim to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, Workday predict they will read net-zero emissions by 2050. They are also mitigating any historical emissions, prior to reaching net-zero, through the purchase of high-quality, third party verified emission reductions and carbon offsets.
One of their most recent carbon offset projects took place in Guatemala, where they distributed water filters and stoves to impoverished communities suffering from waterborne disease and chronic malnutrition. This not only improved their quality of life but removed 99% of pathogens from their drinking water and significantly reduced their need for firewood (which caused copious amounts of indoor pollution).
Workday also took part in two more natural climate solution projects in Mexico and Kenya, where they funded mangrove reforestation programmes. This is an underfunded avenue of climate change, despite mangroves sequestering four times as much carbon than terrestrial forests. All of these initiatives have had an incredibly positive impact locally, providing both full term and seasonal employment for the community.
Workday’s Green Team program is an extension of their sustainability sector and draw on all three of these trends to create a virtuous cycle for their investors, consumers, and employees.
A Green Team local leader’s role is to inspire their colleagues to make positive choices that impact the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility. They use quarterly themes and yearly budgets to fundraise, volunteer and support local communities. Incidentally, with two local leaders at twenty-three of their largest offices, it is clear this initiative has a global reach.
Each green team member is rewarded an amount of money, which they can donate to a charity of their own choice and will receive a certificate in corporate sustainability, provided they have met the expectations of their role. Initiatives can range from ‘Green Your Routine’ workshops, to beach clean-ups and guest speaker ticket events, with each team working together to meet the needs of their own communities. Most importantly, with such a determined focus on CSR, it’s no surprise that their endeavours are displayed consistently in their annual global impact report. All of which contributes to their renowned people-first reputation and Workday’s exponential growth.
If you have been inspired by Workday’s story and want to make some CSR related changes to your workplace, think about how you can act locally, while factoring increased transparency and green technology into your workplace.