You might be surprised to know that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not all that new. In fact, the phrase was coined in 1953 by Howard Bowen’s publication of “Social Responsibility of Businessmen,” according to the Corporate Watch.
So what is CSR, and does it matter?
Harvard Kennedy School defines CSR as this: “Corporate social responsibility encompasses not only what companies do with their profits, but also how they make them. It goes beyond philanthropy and compliance and addresses how companies manage their economic, social, and environmental impacts, as well as their relationships in all key spheres of influence: the workplace, the marketplace, the supply chain, the community, and the public policy realm.”
Whether you are a large, national company or a small, local startup, how you treat people and the planet, and what you do with your profits speaks volumes to your employees, clients and your community.
The connection between CSR and engaged employees is strongly correlated. Studies by Hewitt and Associates showed that morale, efficiency, public image and employee loyalty were all significantly better at businesses with strong CSR efforts.
What we do to give back
Turell Group is proof that, no matter the size, a company can have a large impact on its community. Owner, CEO and CSR champion Dana Turell crafted our vision, mission and value statements with service in mind.
• Vision: Make a difference in everything we do.
• Mission: Serve God, each other, our clients and the community.
• Values: Collaborate — everything we do is a team effort. Build relationships — our work is about people. Over-deliver — set expectations and then exceed them. Believe — in possibilities and that what we do matters.
Our company has invested in significant pro bono projects for Oregon Cancer Foundation, Arts & Business Alliance of Eugene, City of Eugene Animal Services, Eugene/Springfield Relay for Life and more. We also regularly attend fundraisers for a variety of organizations, such as Relief Nursery, Looking Glass and St. Vincent de Paul. And we donate 10 percent of our profits to local nonprofits.
Dana sits on the board of directors for the Oregon Cancer Foundation and Arts & Business Alliance of Eugene and is on the advisory committee for CASA of Lane County. As employees, we find her passion to help others contagious.
Last year, as a team, we participated in United Way of Lane County’s Day of Caring by taking a half-day to pick up bike trails and answer phones at a call-a-thon for a KLCC, a Eugene public radio station.
This year, we are helping Dana raise $5,000 for the Oregon Cancer Foundation as she prepares for her first Olympic-distance triathlon.
Other local companies that show it can be done
Giving your team a say in who receives your corporate social responsibility efforts is a powerful way to encourage employee engagement.
Known as a corporate philanthropist, Pacific Continental Bank has won awards for its generosity in giving to nonprofit organizations and for allowing its employees to have paid days off to volunteer.
Oregon grocery store chain Market of Choice (a client of Turell Group) supports FOOD for Lane County, Linn Benton Food Share, Produce Buddies and Relief Nursery as part of its CSR efforts. A major sponsor of Chef’s Night Out and The Great Taste, this family-owned and operated company has an enormous impact on local charities.
Large corporations that demonstrate strong CSR
According to Forbes, the top four corporations with the most commendable CSR efforts are Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, Google and BMW.
Disney works to reduce greenhouse emissions, electricity consumption and waste produced at its parks and resorts. The company also does an effective job being transparent. You can see for yourself on its Citizenship website.
Most of the aforementioned companies focus on education, the arts and charitable organizations. What may be even more interesting are the companies that have sprouted up with the main goal of being socially responsible.
TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie started his company after visiting Argentina and discovering children with inadequate shoes to protect their feet. For every shoe sold, Toms donates a pair of shoes to a child in need.
Burt’s Bees’ model is: “The Greater Good, good for you, good for us, good for all.” The organization uses and promotes the simple, natural and responsible ingredients found in its products and packaging.
After becoming a mother, actress Jessica Alba started The Honest Company to provide parents with safe, eco-friendly, beautiful, convenient and affordable products for their little ones. The company focuses on health and sustainability, reducing toxic chemicals in the natural environment.
Why you can’t lose with CSR
For any company, large or small, corporate social responsibility can motivate employees and establish or further the brand in a civic-minded way. But, more importantly, doing good is ultimately for the greater good, which makes CSR a win-win for everyone.
Please leave a comment below telling us how your company gives back.