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The benefits of CSR – 3 organisations doing it right

Do you think businesses should be paying more attention to Corporate Social Responsibility programmes?

We reveal why organisations should embrace CSR and build a connected workforce and community – raising awareness about social and environmental issues, and encouraging that step towards social change.

Over the years Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes have grown almost more abundantly than the charities they support.

Tens of thousands of organisations both large and small are doing their part, tackling what matters most and enacting positive change.

We know that organisations can make a significant impact on all aspects of society, from economic issues to social and environmental problems.

So, it makes sense for organisations to take an interest in the communities their employees, customers and shareholders live in.

Of course, it’s not just altruism that prompts brands to give to those in need, or put more sustainable practices in place.

It also makes good business sense.

IO Sustainability has found that, when done well, social investment has the potential to decrease employee turnover by up to 50%, increase employee productivity by 13% and increase sales by 20%.

So it may come as no surprise that 92% of consumers have a more positive image of companies that support social and environmental efforts.

Or that 91% of people say an organisation’s social impact efforts are important when they’re considering applying for a role.

With such powerful statistics, it’s a no brainer to consider CSR when thinking about how to attract and retain your top candidates (and customers).

Here at H&H, we’ve always dappled in CSR activities that our own people feel passionate about, from collecting sanitary products for young people alongside the Red Box Project to whipping up some wonderful sweet treats to raise money for those living with cancer. Or, even fostering dogs who are being trained to support those with hearing loss.

However, this year we’ve been working on our very first, official strategic CSR programme. So we’ve been on the lookout for organisations doing it right. Here’s some golden nuggets we’ve been inspired by!

Three organisations doing CSR right

TOMS ‘one for one®’ campaign

TOMS one for one campaign

TOMS is predominately a footwear retailer demonstrating the impact that CSR can have both on the company and the communities in need across the world.  

With every product you purchase, TOMS will help a person in need.

TOMS ‘one-for-one’ programme has inspired many CSR projects worldwide. And now they’ve taken CSR one step further, allowing consumers to choose where their money is spent. This includes critical services for eyesight, water, safe birthing and bullying prevention to people in over 70 countries.

Their dedication to improving lives across the globe is tremendous, and undoubtedly brave and rewarding for those involved.

The best part of TOMS’ CSR programme is that they’ve brought together 100 partners to deliver shoes, sight and water services to those who need it most.

This has created over 700 jobs to service their donated products and services, and they’ve also provided funds for over 20 companies with a social mission to help them get started.

Their powerful business model is helping address the needs, health, education, and economic opportunity for children and the communities that are most impacted by the operations of their industry.

We’re certainly inspired by their CSR-centred business model and we’re sure that having such a strong sense of purpose makes their employees go that extra mile every day.

Xerox – Community Involvement Programme (XCIP)

Xerox CSR Programme

Another fantastic example of an organisation who have demonstrated their responsibility to the world by strategically transforming their business is Xerox.

Xerox have continuously helped people, communities and the planet grow and thrive. In 2018 they achieved the title of ‘100 Best Corporate Citizens List’ so their commitments to CSR can probably speak for themselves.

They’re involved in many global CSR initiatives across 160 countries. But the most memorable one that caught our eyes was their ‘Xerox Community Involvement Programme.’

It focuses on encouraging their employees to gift their time to social projects of their choosing – keeping it close to their hearts and their homes.

And it gets better. Xerox allows employees to take paid leave to focus entirely on CSR, providing their communities with more than 91,000 hours of volunteer time.

Since 2012 they’ve sponsored an extraordinary 18,000 projects with the help of over 400,000 dedicated employees.

It’s a simple yet powerful way to leverage their people-power to make an impact in the communities they operate in, without the need to inject large amounts of centralised resource or planning.

And what’s so effective about this approach is that their employees are so emotionally involved that they want to shout about it from the rooftops – giving Xerox a serious boost to their reputation without a single click of their social media’s ‘promote post’ button.

You only have to think about the last time you volunteered or a time when you were involved in something that made you feel good – did you give a shout-out to the people who helped to make it happen?

It’s this element of innocent brand stewardship that Xerox benefits from each time they enable their people to take a day off and give back to their communities.


Starbucks Veteran Programme

Starbucks have committed to creating positive global social impact in one of the most comprehensive CSR strategies across the globe.

Their vision is to help inspire their partners, customers, suppliers and neighbours to create positive social and environmental impact.

But what are Starbucks doing to really make a difference?  

Well, they dip their fingers into many CSR pies, from sourcing ethical and sustainable products, to creating opportunities through education, training and employment.

They’re committed to minimising their environmental footprint and inspiring others to do the same by strengthening communities across the world.

It’s never easy to get it right when you’re a giant global brand serving a product fraught with poor ethical and environmental practices – all so that people can get their daily fix of liquid gold. But their efforts for positive change are admirable.  

One particularly pleasing aspect of their social investments is their effort to employ and integrate marginalised groups that commonly struggle to get into employment.

Like their commitment to have 25,000 military veterans employed by 2025. With over 21,000 already employed, it’s not a bad feat when you consider they originally set out to achieve hiring 10,000 veterans by 2018.

That’s double their original commitment!

Starbucks Veterans and Military

And it’s the small things that prove they’re not just ticking off their CSR goals.

At Starbucks headquarters, the names of thousands of veterans and military spouses who work for the company are engraved on medallions on their military honour wall, which reads: ‘There are heroes among us.’

It’s a respectful reminder to their office-dwelling colleagues that some of those serving coffees for the country have once used a very different skill set to serve the country.

Employing marginalised groups doesn’t stop there for our caffeine-fueller friends. By 2022, they’re looking to hire an ambitious 10,000 refugees.

And it’s not just an empty target, hoping that refugees might fruitfully spot an advert in their shop window.

Instead they’re taking a systematic approach. By partnering with the International Rescue Committee, they’re providing specialised job training programmes that will give refugees the necessary support to gain confidence and self-sufficiency.  

“The IRC is thrilled to partner with Starbucks on their powerful and impactful commitment to hire 10,000 refugees globally over five years. One of the best ways for a refugee to integrate into a new community is through employment, and Starbucks’ pledge to provide these much-needed jobs will be a critical first step towards our clients’ self-sufficiency.” – David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee.

We find these programmes incredibly supportive and value how they’re making these changes to diversify their workforce and provide inclusive opportunities for everyone. 

What we love most about the above examples is that they provide so much opportunity to bring the company values and purpose to life.

CSR projects that include their employees are brimming with positive news stories for internal comms professionals to leverage in their culture-building programmes. And integrating these stories into HR’s recruitment activities can only strengthen an organisation’s ability to attract the right, values-aligned talent.

Have these CSR programmes given you some inspiration and ideas that you can explore in your own organisation?

No matter how big or small your efforts are, you can make an impact when you integrate CSR into your core business strategy – not just for your employees, but for your customers and communities.  

Happy giving!

Keep an eye across our social channels to find out what CSR activities we have on the agenda.

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