Choosing the Right CSR


Corporate Social Responsibility for your business to support is an important task. Businesses are expected to make commitments to social issues and the cause that you choose to support can make a statement about your company. However, some social issues are more divisive than others, so how do you make the right choice?


A recent survey of consumers in the US showed at 71{21dc2fe1b43c4cf57a2e25a56b286f09fbb32a45ddf34dcf04be366972dd7b06} of respondents believed that it is important that businesses support a social movement. The most popular causes right now are environmental issues, gender, human rights and politics. The choice that a company makes about any of these issues can influence buyers, and reflect the image of the brand.


Environment and Human Rights

Companies who show support for issues such as the environment and human rights are the least likely to cause any controversy. Even if that company chooses to stay silent when an issue arises, surveys show that most people are likely to continue to use the service or buy the products offered by that company. Environmental and human rights issues are universal concerns, and therefore people are more likely to support the stance of the business. It is because they are universal concerns that it is also easier for companies who support these issues not to be expected to make any public announcements or take a stance when such issues arise. In fact, from a PR point of view, it is indicated that your company is better off if it does not make any public statements, but follows its own commitment.


Politics and Gender

When it comes to politics and gender, people can become hostile, fast. They are two of the most divisive issues that a company can choose to tackle. Offering people a moral education or a stance on politics can be challenging. People are sensitive about the choices they make in these two areas, and having a faceless corporation weigh in on debates about gender and politics is not always well received, particularly in the US. Approaching people with a ‘we know best’ stance on such issues can alienate clients, see leads disappear and even polarise your company. It is important that if you choose to face either of these two issues you are prepared for the backlash and willing to commit to the stance you take.


Staying Silent

While having a CSR might seem important, one survey showed that 63{21dc2fe1b43c4cf57a2e25a56b286f09fbb32a45ddf34dcf04be366972dd7b06} of people would continue to buy from a business that did not have a comment about the issues that they care about. In this case, it is important to consider your brand. If your company is selling dinner sets, it might not be important for your business to have an alliance with a social concern. Most people choose their dinner sets based on need, budget and taste, not on whether the company supports veganism.



When choosing to commit to a CSR or to stay silent, it is important to think of how this supports your brand. While banks, fast food chains and even car manufacturers are all developing ways to show that they are good corporate citizens, think carefully about how the cause your support will reflect your brand. If you choose to make environmentalism your cause, be certain to make changes that are actionable and can be seen. Be certain that even in B2B operations that if you are going to make a public display of supporting a cause, you know the details of that organisation, you follow the news and you act accordingly if the situation changes. You don’t want your business to be the one aligned with an organisation that is facing investigations about child sex abuse while you announce a €5,000 donation to that same charity. Manage your PR and let your CSR work for you by understanding the power of global social consciousness.

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