The Benefits of CSR
CSR is Good for Business
A key driver of CSR is the impact it can have as a lever for improving competitiveness and as a means of reducing costs and creating new value. Most businesses seek to be profitable, and this can be done in a manner which creates shared value for all stakeholders. High performing organisations manage their societal, economic and environmental responsibilities in an ethical manner which benefits them, their workers and their wider local communities.
CSR can have a positive influence on the competitiveness of enterprises and it can bring real benefits in the following areas:
- Winning new business and increasing customer retention;
- Developing and enhancing relationships with suppliers and networks;
- Attracting, retaining and maintaining a happy workforce and becoming an employer of choice;
- Saving money on energy and operating costs and managing risk;
- Improving your business reputation;
- Providing access to investment and funding opportunities.
A strategic approach to CSR can therefore lead to potential benefits and create opportunities for growth at enterprise level. These benefits are being tangibly realised by many companies in Ireland today.
Good for the Community
Building longer term impacts into business operations also benefits the wider community. Our economy and our environment are interdependent and the acknowledgement of this by more businesses will ensure a number of wider societal benefits are realised. Using scarce resources efficiently, helping people to develop their potential and building self-reliant communities are all social benefits that can result when businesses embed CSR practices into their mainstream business operations.
The European Commission suggests that CSR can have a positive influence on the competitiveness of enterprises and can bring real benefits in terms of:
- Customer relations: consumers are increasingly paying more attention to the environmental and social credentials of the products and services they buy and the activities of companies in the sourcing and production of the goods they sell.
- Risk management: as a means of anticipating and reducing potential sources of risk and a means to enhance reputation.
- Cost savings: particularly in the area of the environment and resource efficiency.
- Human resources: through its effect on employee relations, the capacity to attract and retain talent, and its positive impact on staff motivation and productivity.
- Improving innovation capacity: engaging with customers enables businesses to keep close to emerging market trends and can lead to the development of new business models or products.
- Investment: Investors are increasingly looking at the ethics and practices of companies they are considering investing in.
Below are some external resources which expand further on the many business benefits of CSR:
- Nielsen's 'Doing Well by Doing Good' report highlight the impact of CSR on consumer choice (PDF)
- A Fortune Magazine article on how good environmental practices help attract the best talent to your organization
- The Huffington post on Corporate Social Responsibility for Start-ups