CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) has quickly become the buzz term that everyone in investor relations is talking about. Loosely speaking, CSR is the idea that a company of any size should contribute to a better society and cleaner environment, with the understanding that doing so will enhance business operations and competitiveness. With this often comes common CSR questions, so take – for example – Google Green. Google Green is a corporate effort to use resources efficiently while supporting renewable power. Not only does this program lower costs for Google as a business, it drastically impacts the bottom line; Google has seen an overall drop in power requirements for their data centers by an average of 50 percent.
Knowing that we’re not all powerhouses like Google (though the sky’s the limit!), any IR business can benefit from CSR.
That’s why we’ve put together common CSR questions we’re asked all the time. We love CSR so much, we’re here to help answer your burning questions about this area of opportunity for your business.
5 Common CSR Questions Answered
1. Why should I have a CSR section on my website?
This is a question that we hear often, and one that we always love answering.
Implementing CSR on your site will directly and indirectly improve your overall competitiveness in the market. Common advantages of a company that has CSR presence on their site, versus a company who does not, include:
- Creating shareholder value, which strengthens stakeholder relationships
- Enhancing brand reputation, both in the community and within the business
- Improving employee recruitment and retention
- Highlighting and showcasing responsible leadership
And so much more.
While your business might already be active within your community, it might not translate online. Showcasing a strong CSR section on your website has a plethora of benefits.
2. Where should I place my CSR section on my website?
When consumers seek out information about your CSR involvement and can’t find it, they assume it doesn’t exist. Make your CSR section on your website clear and easily available. If you’re not communicating responsibility practices, you run the risk of having consumers think you’re not participating at all.
We recommend giving your CSR practices a dedicated section on your IR website. Rogers is a great example; on their consumer-facing site, CSR is easily located as a drop-down beside “Contact Us”. It’s easy to find and even easier to navigate.
3. What should be included in my CSR section?
What is included on your CSR microsite or CSR section of your website is often dependent on your company or industry, but generally we recommend the following to be included:
- Your history, business and overall economic impact of your CSR endeavours
- Community Investment section, including a list of highlights from the past year (this could be overall funds donated, employee time spent volunteering in the community and more)
- News and Media Relations section. This allows you to share dedicated press releases for your CSR activity, including contact information to get in touch with your Communications team
- CSR report downloads from both current and past years
- In addition to your News and Media Relations section, an active CSR blog will showcase authenticity from your business and differentiate yourselves from competitors.
What is included in your CSR site is dependent on your overall strategy and goals, though we suggest that you include these four points at minimum.
4. Who should be involved in creating your CSR strategy?
CSR strategy and implementation comes from your Leadership and Executive team, with involvement from Human Relations and Communications. For a CSR program to truly work, Leadership must pave the way and lead by example.
Human Relations is an important stakeholder in this process because they are often one of the key benefactors of a successful CSR program. A CSR program can be an aid to recruitment and retention, especially when you’re hiring in a competitive graduate market.
5. How can I stand out from my competitors with CSR?
The answer here is authenticity. Your investors and customers have excellent BS meters, so make sure that your CSR communication is authentic in nature.
Be honest about your efforts and activity, but also be honest in areas that need improvement. If you have areas of your CSR strategy that needs improvement, acknowledge this and provide updates along the way.
As you develop your CSR website (or perhaps take inventory of your current site), ensure you are telling your story effectively and honestly. Make customers want to share your content, and tell your own story. If you do not have CSR presence or if you’re not telling your story effectively, your customers might think you’re avoiding or hiding something entirely.