The future of Corporate Social Responsibility
This fall I was a panelist at CR Magazine’s COMMIT! Forum in New York. COMMIT! Forum is the leading industry conference for idealistic CSR professionals like me to agree with each other, network and share successes, failures, hopes and dreams.
I was the millennial (people love our demographic!) member of a panel discussing the future of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and what industry leaders are doing to bring more social good into the business world. Here are some of the key takeaways:
- While reputational risk is the main motivation for CSR programs, many programs overlook the market value of the good they do. A huge opportunity lies in our ability to position brands by effectively engaging consumers around our CSR initiatives.
- It is imperative that the CEO buys into CSR ideas in order for them to be successful.
- Innovation is relatively rare in CSR. Seek creative solutions to problems instead of just working to improve statistics and hedge reputational risk.
- Supply chain traceability is already a major trend. If an organization can look through its entire supply chain and effectively show consumers they are “sustainable,” a deeper relationship will form.
- CSR pros agree that businesses need to do a better job educating consumers about the impact of their purchasing decisions, both good and bad. Well-informed consumers are a big factor in creating positive change.
- Reducing food waste, packaging waste and overconsumption are major trends right now. Any corporate engagement in this space will be seen as new and refreshing and will be welcomed by consumers.
- When we are engaging in issues and solving CSR problems, we should look at all key players and see who is the most trusted and authoritative in consumers’ minds and seek their validation in our efforts.
I took a positive feeling away from the summit. It was great to hear about organizations dedicating talent, resources and scalability against unique CSR programs positioned to have beneficial social impact. And it’s up to us as communicators to demonstrate the value and create demand for strong and innovative CSR programs.
-Written by MMer Nick Anderson