Giving back - is your business socially responsible?

Social responsibility is an ethical theory in which individuals are accountable for fulfilling their civic duty, and the actions of an individual must benefit the whole of society. In this way, there must be a balance between economic growth and the welfare of society and the environment. If this equilibrium is maintained, then social responsibility is accomplished. (Source: pachamama.org)

From a business perspective, this means that in addition to maximising shareholder value, a business must act in a way that benefits society. Businesses that commit to social responsibility and to ‘giving back’ have made social responsibility part of their business model, and as such, have seen their business thrive, adding to the value of their business.

Consumers and investors alike are now looking to a business that acts in a socially responsible way. From volunteer programmes and environmental policies to a commitment to engage in charitable giving, consumers are now actively looking to buy goods and services from socially responsible companies, impacting profitability.


In 2019, Forbes named the top 100 socially responsible companies in the world. Lego Group topped the list, followed by Natura and then technology giants, Microsoft and Google. The Walt Disney Group completed the top five. 

To determine the list, Reputation Institute surveyed more than 230,000 individuals in 15 countries from January to February 2019. Companies considered typically have revenue in excess of $1 billion, a presence in all surveyed countries and brand familiarity among at least 20% of the general population.

Of course, it’s not just huge global brands that are committed to social responsibility. There are stories or businesses, large and small, from your local hairdresser to a regional supermarket chain that gives back to the community. 

With more and more consumers and investors looking for companies that are committed to social responsibility, is it time for you to think about the things your business currently does and what it could be doing better?

Here are some great examples of businesses around the world that are committed to social responsibility and giving back:

Warby Parker

Warby Parker not only markets super-trendy eyewear with a vintage twist, but they are also a leading light when it comes to social responsibility. Their Buy a Pair, Give a Pair programme means that every time someone purchases a pair of glasses from them, they donate a pair in return. Not only this, their Pupils Project is committed to promoting vision care for those in need - students receive free vision screenings, eye exams and prescription glasses.

Lego Group

Named as the number one brand in the world for social responsibility, the Lego Group are committed to a huge range of projects. Their three main areas of focus are children, the environment, and people. They have local community projects throughout the world where passionate Lego employees leverage the transformational power of learning through play to inspire and develop children.

Their local community engagement program currently operates in 26 countries, and they are working hard to expand it even further. The program relies on Lego employees in each country volunteering to help create projects to inspire children.

This is just one example of the hundreds of programmes offered by Lego - the reason they top the charts when it comes to social responsibility.

Betway Group

Betway Group is a leading global provider of first-class entertainment across sports betting and casino. Since 2006, they have been at the forefront of the online gaming industry, utilising the very latest technologies to provide innovative and interactive gaming experiences in a secure environment. They are also committed to social responsibility.

Their social responsibility commitment has two threads - staff and sports. Their staff are fully committed to the communities and causes that are close to the offices and industry they operate in. They have had a number of charity partners that they’ve collaborated with over the last few years raising tens of thousands of pounds.

They also have formed strong relationships in sport through their sponsorship agreements with West Ham, horse racing and snooker.

Google

As you might imagine, technology giant Google is a brand that is dedicated to social responsibility, justifying its spot in the top five brands in the world for social responsibility. Their commitment focusses primarily on the environment. They are the world’s largest purchaser of renewable energy and they are constantly looking at ways to innovate operations to make them more sustainable. They are committed to going carbon-free by 2030 and have been carbon neutral since 2007.

Google also donates millions of dollars every year with a focus on technology, education and human trafficking. More recently, Google committed $100 million and 50,000 volunteer hours dedicated to fighting COVID-19.

Corporate social responsibility is something all businesses should be focusing on as a way of improving their overall business model and giving back to the communities that they serve. As the leading brands are showing, you reap what you sow in business and a commitment to social responsibility is the first step down that path to sustained business growth.

 
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