It’s always wise to do the right thing, even when no one is watching. Of course, we all wish every corporation was performing their due diligence and being mindful of how they’re impacting the social and natural environments in which we all live. But in today’s connected world, it’s especially important to be ethically responsible. After all, whistleblowers no longer need a publisher. They only need a free social media account to blast information about how corporations are handling themselves and their resources.
Social media is here to stay. Almost everyone has some kind of social media presence, whether on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. We are all tuned in to the lives and actions of those around us. While this connection has brought awareness to global and social issues, it’s also suddenly put businesses under the magnifying glass.
Corporate Social Responsibility
The term corporate social responsibility (CSR) is used to describe the practices chosen by a business, from their internal operations all the way to how they choose to make charitable donations. While we expect that businesses are adhering to labor laws and being mindful of their impact, there’s more to CSR than following the law. We now encourage social responsibility to the community outside of what is mandated by law.
Of course, a small business’ social responsibility choices often look different from those of a large corporation. But when scaled, small businesses have an equally positive impact. A corporation might pay big bucks to make sure that their manufacturing process is environmentally friendly, sponsor organizations that provide helpful services, or even advocate for political change. While small businesses can implement these ideas to some degree, they often focus more on making changes within their community, where their efforts have more impact.
Ways that small business can give back to their communities include:
- Sponsoring scholarships
- Planting community gardens
- Shopping local for supplies
- Raising funds for local charities
- Providing internship opportunities for local students
- Participating in community beautification projects
- Sponsoring school supplies drives and field trips for student enrichment
- Promoting community blood drives
The Impact of CSR
A small business that shares its community outreach creates a positive image on social media. This helps attract new customers and socially conscientious potential employees. Small businesses often see positive benefits from CSR initiatives quite quickly because of this effect.
Corporate social responsibility is no longer an option thanks to our interconnected social world. Companies must stay alert not only to laws but also to trends and social attitudes in order to meet the expectations of their customers … and those staring into the fishbowl.
While being under the microscope might seem intimidating, don’t forget that CSR makes our communities better. It’s a privilege to have the ability to help, to advocate for change, and to make this world a little better than it was before we got here. If every business, no matter its size, adopts an attitude of improvement, we can truly make a positive impact on our world.