I’m really buoyed by this recent find on the internet. The site is CSRwire.com with the initials standing for “Corporate Social Responsibility,” a term that is common to me at this point in my pre-launch research. Assuming those reading this entry haven’t necessarily spent the first half of the year researching new trends in all things socially- and environmentally-responsible as part of a triple-bottom-line business start-up, here’s a bit from their About CSRwire page:
CSRwire is the leading source of corporate social responsibility and sustainability news, reports and information. CSRwire members are companies and NGOs, agencies and organizations interested in communicating their corporate citizenship, sustainability, and socially responsible initiatives to a global audience through CSRwire’s syndication network and weekly News Alerts. CSRwire content covers issues of Diversity, Philanthropy, Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Environment, Human Rights, Workplace Issues, Business Ethics, Community Development and Corporate Governance.
CSR is defined as the integration of business operations and values, whereby the interests of all stakeholders including investors, customers, employees, the community and the environment are reflected in the company’s policies and actions.
So, finding another site referencing “corporate social responsibility” isn’t the source of my excitement.
What then has me so jazzed? I’m glad you asked…
First of all, I find it encouraging to see that the site’s membership list includes literally hundreds and hundreds of companies, many of which are well-known. Some names that caught my eye include Proctor & Gamble, Pepsico, Disney, Gap, American Express, Stop & Shop and Staples, to name just a few. Check out the membership list for yourself! Each member profile includes contact information, company description and an archive of news releases touting their socially- and environmentally-motivated activities.
My THEORY ~ Doing Good Feels Good and Begets More Doing Good
Whether motivated by the belief that “doing good” makes good business sense or by the values-driven motivation that I’d like to believe a growing number of people genuinely embrace (those organizations which incorporate doing good into their business goals because the people running the company follow a “being a good human” internal compass), it’s all good if the result is increased awareness and action that is positive in terms of impact on people and planet… What’s more ~ I firmly believe that the “good” feelings generated by doing good will become their own reward, fueling this trend toward purpose-driven living and happier lives. Now that’s exciting!
Measuring Social Return on Investment (SROI) –Another exciting trend…
There is no question that merely giving lip service to “a sense of responsibility for impact on society and the environment” is not enough when it comes to an organization’s time and money spent on incorporating social and environmental responsibility into their guiding principles and standards for doing business. Rather, there is a very real and growing accountability expectation that is great news for all those who care about the future of our country, our world and our planet…
Given today’s analytical environment, businesses can’t simply paint their logo green and call it a day or state they are concerned about the welfare of their workers, customers, or other affected stakeholders, without backing that statement up with quantifiable validation of that claim… For example, check out the Coca Cola profile… Not only does the profile include many press releases reporting Coke’s various charitable activities, the profile also includes a link to Coke’s Social Responsibility Report. Indeed, Coke is one of a growing number of companies that publish annual reports specifically summarizing their results for the year, not in terms of the financial bottom line, but in terms of the results of their CSR-driven policies, procedures, campaigns, events and activities.
You’ve heard of ROI (return on investment), well get ready for SROI ~ Social Return on Investment. This quantification of results reflects the trend toward not just short-term, low-impact, feel-good activities but activities with positive, measurable, meaningful and sustainable results… It really doesn’t matter how much money a non-profit organization secures via a grant or how much money a for-profit spends on a socially-inspired endeavor. The question is, “What are the results?” What positive impact resulted from the dollars and hours spent? Rather than learning how many dollars were spent, you are more likely to hear how many people experienced an improvement in their quality of life, for example. Sustainability is a term that applies to more than just environmental concerns. SROI is a result of this meaningful trend toward measuring success by the results, the outcomes that are relevent and lasting, not merely in terms of dollars and cents, but in terms of the actual impact on the stakeholders. How many lives were improved as the result of a charitable campaign? How many more kids graduated from high school in a targeted, high-risk community? How many abuse victims didn’t return to the abusive relationship as a result of the empowerment intervention program funded by a local financial institution or retail superstore? Cool, huh? Check out the following quote from Coke’s press release announcing their third annual Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report:
“For the first time, we are announcing a clear roadmap with targets and goals to help us deliver on our commitment to Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability,” said John F. Brock, chairman and chief executive officer. “As we continue to embed CRS throughout our business, it is playing an increasingly important role in helping us to capture operational efficiencies, drive effectiveness, and eliminate waste.”
I’m not a dollars and cents person… but dollars and sense, numbers that really represent a meaningful measurement of change for the good, positive impact, that’s exciting stuff!
Healthy, Good Ol’ American, Capitalistic Business Competition within the Environment of Growing CSR will Drive Increased CSR – that’s cool, too!
Assuming that an increasing consumer expectation that businesses will incorporate corporate social responsibility into their business mission is inevitable, leading comanies have
realized and are embracing the reality that it makes good business
sense, indeed common sense, to “lead” when it comes to CSR as a part of
their overall image (their self-image and their public image) as a true
leader in their particular industry. It just makes sense. Given today’s social and
business climate (no “global climate change” pun intended), a strong corporate
social responsibility strategy could mean the difference in the gaining
of valuable market share that drives the competitive
landscape of business as it always has. Furthermore, for those organizations who are eager to improve their overall
market share, reputation and goodwill within their given industry have the potential for greater impact than ever before as consumers increasingly use their spending dollars to reflect their approval of a particular company’s level of perceived corporate social responsibility, or lack thereof. As with the classic Avis “we try harder”
campaign, the opportunity exists for wannabee leaders to “do more good” in an effort to win over those purpose-driven dollars…
Not only is CSRwire a source for the latest news regarding social responsibility and sustainability, I’m impressed by their efforts, successful in my opinion, to break the topic down into categories and to provide a compilation of general information articles on the topic. “CSRwire seeks to promote the growth of corporate responsibility and sustainability through solutions-based information and positive examples of corporate practices.”
While Greenoptions.com and Worldchanging.com continue to top my list for the latest changemaking and purpose-driven latest online news sources, I think that CSRwire.com may just be a site to add to the top of the list for those interested in staying up-to-date on the business world’s response to the growing trends toward living our lives with increased awareness of and decision-making that takes into consideration the consequences of our actions, or inactions, a part of the daily choices we make as consumers, as fellow citizens of this country and the world community and stewards to the environment.
Wow, got a little preachy there… What can I say? I’m a mother, remember!?
Now, mind your manners (as well as your socially and environmentally motivated decisions) and make the most of your day! Until next time, here’s to Time Well Spent, N.