Choosing the Right CSR Initiative for Your Company: A How-To Guide

As a new element of leadership, CSR is an important differentiator of business performance. But, how do you choose the right CSR initiative for your company?

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, businesses can not operate solely for profit. Consumers and stakeholders are far more aware of company policy. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a new element of leadership and is an important differentiator that boosts business performance. Choosing the right CSR initiative for your company is not an easy task, but when correctly implemented, your brand becomes an innovator.

But, what strategies are right for your company and where do your responsibilities lie? Use these five tools to choose the right CSR initiative and create an exemplary model to entice your consumers and stakeholders.

1. Impact Assessment

Light bulbs effect of impact, a pseudo newton's cradle

The most effective CSR initiatives focus on developing the social purpose of a business. Perform an impact assessment to understand your company’s socioeconomic and environmental objectives — follow your supply chain and evaluate the good and the bad.

Safe Catch, a sustainable seafood brand, is a great example of how CSR reinforces brand purpose. Their business model provides the highest quality seafood to its customers — a healthy ocean is a proponent to their success. Ocean plastic removal policies seamlessly integrate into their business model.

Safe Catch partnered with rePurpose Global to calculate and offset the amount of plastic used in its supply chain to become Plastic Neutral. The Plastic Neutrality platform is the concept of measuring, reducing, and offsetting the unique plastic footprint of a company. The contributions to the platform fund ocean plastic removal through vetted recycling initiatives and empower waste workers.

Incorporating sustainable policies that improve the socio-economic and environmental impact of your brand has many benefits. Sustainable policies create transparency, show commitment to a greater cause, and align your brand with a social purpose.

2. Evaluate Expectations From Customers, Stakeholders, and Employees

A group of people using their laptops to assess various strategies

As companies acknowledge and understand the associated value of well-aligned CSR, improve policies by evaluating brand expectations.

CSR is a powerful brand differentiator; understanding consumer expectations is vital for success.A study by Verizon and Campbell’s soup found that a well designed CSR program “increases revenue as much as 20%, and increases customer commitment by as much as 60%.” Additionally, “over a 15-year period, companies with effective CSR programs have on average increased shareholder value by $1.28 billion.”

In recent years, small and private label brands offering organic produce in the French market have exploded. “79% of French consumers buy both private labels and branded organic items; as a result, private labels represent half of all organic sales.” The organic seal is a significant differentiator. “Private label organic sales grew 16 percentage points faster than the overall private label category”. The shifting consumer preference signaled the importance of incorporating an organic produce line to larger brands. The next year the market underwent a 17% increase in labeled organic produce. Customer expectations drive the market, consider purchasing behavior when implementing CSR initiatives and policies.

Supply chains affect everything from the environment to employees. Improving corporate environmental policy helps attract high-level talent and improves retention. Keep your employees in the loop and understand what their expectations are for the brand.

Identify the expectations of consumers, stakeholders, and employees to create the most value for your brand. Thoughtful CSR has the ability to propel your business to the next level.

3. Assess Your Peers

Rotating wind turbines with the backdrop of a grey sky

Analyzing the cause and effect of your peers’ CSR initiatives is important to make your brand stand out. Sustainability policy is a great way to differentiate.

Nike has taken impressive steps to make their supply chain more sustainable, leading the footwear industry in sustainable policy. “Year-over year, it found a sales increase of 2% for products with sustainability claims and a lift of 5% for products that promote sustainability actions through marketing campaigns. Alternative brands saw a rise of only 1%.”

Adidas understood the importance of implementing sustainable policy and soon after announced a partnership with Parley for the Oceans, a partner organization of Sea Shepherd. Through the partnership they created a line of footwear made out of ocean plastics. Adidas is now on track to make $1 Billion with their shoe line, while helping to solve the ocean plastic problem.

Being aware of the methods your competitors are taking ensures your brand is on the frontline of innovation. Drive brand potential through innovation.

4. Integrate Impact Initiatives Into Your Product Experience

Screenshot compilation of integrating impact initiatives in your product experience for consumers

A great way to empower your consumers is to incorporate sustainable incentives into your user experience. Allowing the consumer to choose a more environmentally friendly option during the point-of-sale can result in positive impacts with minimal costs.

rePurpose Global offers easy integration, the Everyday Plastic Neutral Program. The program integrates a point-of-sale opt-in box, giving your customers a green shopping experience and enabling them to offset the plastic created by their order. For often less than $1, and at no cost to the producer, this integration is a great option to begin your CSR evolution.

Empowering your consumer is an easy way to give them an authentic experience of designating change. The program is a great addition to e-commerce business models.

5. Take an Experimental Approach

Thumbpins lying upside down on a world map

Even after assessing your impact and evaluating the expectations of your customer and stakeholders, deciding which policies to implement takes consideration.

One technique is to test the market. Run different campaigns based on distribution channels, geography, or product category. The Everyday Plastic Neutral Program is an easy way to see where sustainable strategies are effective. At no cost to the producers, it allows your brand to understand market demographics and understand the intricacies of the market.

Empowering your brand with corporate social responsibility initiatives is necessary to effectively evolve. Understand the expectation of your marketplace and create brand variety by installing new and innovative techniques.

Sustainable policy helps your brand stand out from the competition by aligning with the expectations of your consumers, stakeholders, and employees. The rePurpose Global platform can help your company go Plastic Neutral by assessing your plastic footprint, helping you compensate it by removing & recycling an equivalent amount, as well as providing tailored advice on how you can reduce your ecological footprint going  forward.

Sign up for a 30-min free consultation today and design with us an unique sustainability & social impact strategy that works for your business.

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