As a young marketer, many years ago, before mobile phones were an essential part of the corporate tool kit, I realised that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was going to be a fundamental element of the business marketing tool kit. It would provide businesses with a chance to promote their values and raise the brand profile without a hard sales message.
Over the years I have tried to ensure that all of my clients include CSR in their business planning and have seen incredible engagement from customers and suppliers alike. As a member of the CIM I get a regular update in their magazine, Catalyst, and it has been interesting over the years to see the profile CSR has gained and the evolution it has gone through and continues to go through.
ESG is now the common terminology used by corporates and some of these are now working hard to include it within their organisations, but many still do not understand exactly what it is, how to implement a successful strategy and how to maximise the benefit from it.
There are numerous “ESG Consultants” who claim to be able to develop and implement ESG/CSR strategies but sadly many of these have little or no experience and merely jumping on the band wagon.
However, there are some amazing examples of successful CSR strategies from around the world. In the latest edition of the CIM Catalyst magazine there is an article detailing the work a coffee chain in Sri Lanka have been doing over the past few years around CSR and it is a lesson that all businesses can learn from.
Barista Coffee Lanka have around 300 cafés across Sri Lanka and have implemented an impressive CSR strategy that that includes working with communities undertaking activities such as cleaning beaches and working with schools, through to replacing single use plastic bottles with glass ones, despite the additional cost. Most recently they have been involved in a reforestation project, raising funds to plant over 1000 trees.
Dilupa Pathirana, CEO of Barista Coffee Lanka comments “CSR practices are vital for Barista’s business sustainability and enduring success. It is key when building relationships with our customers, employees, suppliers, investors, communities government agencies and regulators.”
In reality, everyone is impacted by their CSR and most importantly their business benefits form the positive profile it generates.
CSR, if adopted well can benefit every business no matter what the size, from one-man bands to global corporates. Whether you call it ESG or CSR, taking care of your communities builds the profile of your brand and will ultimately drive sales and profitability, not to mention the good it will do.
The only question to ask is why aren’t more businesses including CSR/ESG in their planning?
To find out more about how to develop and implement a successful CSR strategy contact us.