Many companies post corporate social responsibility statements on their websites. What’s the purpose of these statements and should your company write one.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) statements can help management articulate and reiterate the values of the company. You may know that your company values safety and health, but what’s the point of writing it down? Putting pen to paper and, better yet, keeping the statement in front of employees helps them to internalize corporate and values. Everyday decisions are made on those values.
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Publishing your CSR statement on the corporate website also alerts vendors, customers, investors, and the public as a whole about your company’s values. It can help others decide whether or not they want to do business with you by emphasizing the deeper connection that a person can make when he/she recognizes that that company shares his/her values. Let those who do not share your values, self-select out of becoming your partner.
Questions to Consider
What are the core values of your business?
Here is a list of standard items to consider including in your CSR statement. Depending on your industry and business, you may want to include additional items. For example, do you do business in a country where human rights is an issue? What does your company do to honor human rights? Add it to the list.
Core values might include:
- Ethical Standards
- Fair Trade
- Human Rights
- Industry Support
- Political Advocacy
How do you demonstrate those values? Here are some questions to ask yourself on some of the more standard items:
- Community: How is your company involved in the community through volunteering, donating to local causes, etc?
- Employees: What do you do (out of the ordinary) to support your employees? Do you provide training or benefits beyond what’s normally offered?
- Environment: What do you do, specifically, to protect the environment? Company practices, donations, etc.?
- Ethical standards: What are your ethical standards? How do you uphold them?
- Industry Support: To what trade associations do you belong? What do those associations represent? How do you help their missions?
- Political Advocacy: What issues do you support? Does your company support get-out-the-vote efforts? Do you have a political action committee?
- Safety: What does your company do to ensure the safety of your employees, contractors, and the community at large?
Lauren Yates is a Principal and Co-founder of ThinkWell Consulting, LLC. Lauren is fascinated with the ever-changing nature of marketing and how the internet has empowered businesses and individuals to communicate directly with their audiences. Way back in grad school she wrote a paper on how “weblogs” would democratize journalism — that project is unavailable somewhere on a floppy disc. Here, she writes about consulting, entrepreneurship, and digital marketing.