- March 9, 2021
Corporate social responsibility, which has become more important in the last 10 years, enables companies to take a more aggressive role in building a more fair, equalitarian and livable future.
Companies focus more on social responsibilities, such as defending women’s rights, protecting the environment, contributing to local and national development, and supporting young people. In fact, the issue of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been on the agenda of companies for more than 150 years. The Word “company” is derived from the combination of the Latin words “cum” and “pains” meaning “to share the meal”. Although the concept has broken its social and social commitment in history, it has been increasingly beaten by CSR, especially in the last 10 years.
Corporate social responsibility is defined as “a business approach that contributes to sustainable development by providing economic, social and environmental benefits for all stakeholders” by Financial Times. CSR represents the idea of an ethical organization that can take responsibility for companies as individuals do. While consumer expectations constantly trigger the idea of “new organization” of the institutions with their needs and expectations, innovative ideas, similarities, along with the constantly changing technological developments, services and the high rhythm of new products, they also contribute to the transition from a product-oriented society to a human-oriented society.
Adopting socially responsible policies is considered one of the keys to the long-term success of companies today. The importance of corporate social responsibility is increasing day by day in terms of gaining new customers and gaining loyalty in the eyes of existing customers. Research shows that consumers will prefer companies that spend some of their profits on close and valuable social reasons.
According to “The Power of Value-Based Strategy”, the research of market research firm Forrester Research, approximately 52 percent of US consumers take values into account in their purchasing preferences and prefer “companies that proactively support values”. Nielsen’s survey of 30.000 people in 60 countries revealed that 66 percent of global consumers are willing to pay more for the products and services of brands that display social responsibility. 78 percent of people want companies to address social issues.
Corporate social responsibility is defined as “a business approach that contributes to sustainable development by providing economic, social and environmental benefits for all stakeholders” by Financial Times.
Corporate social responsibility is of great importance, especially for Generation Y. According to The Millennial Impact’s report, 72 percent of millennials in the US volunteered for a charitable job in 2019 while 94 percent said they enjoyed using their skills to help a social purpose. Experts and analysts say companies need to pay attention to this trend for two reasons: First, they need it to attract and retain consumers. According to Cone Communications, when offered a choice between two similar products, 90 percent of consumers choose the brand they perceive to have a better CSR presence. Second, it’s important to attract and retain employees. By 2025, millennials are expected to make up 75 percent of the US labor force and their willingness to combine a social benefit with employment is best documented. The “Voluntary Impact” survey conducted by Deloitte reveals that young professionals who regularly participate in volunteer activities at work are almost twice as satisfied with the progress in their careers than those who do not.
On the other hand, businesses taking social responsibilities attract more attention from investors. Forbes Councils Member Chastity Heyward says: “In my experience, investors in a business have one common goal: to have greater returns than invested funds. I view businesses that are able to manage finances while still helping their communities as accountable and transparent in their dealings.
According to a 2016 report by Aflac, investments in CSR are not typically viewed by investors as a waste of money, but rather an indicator of a corporate culture less likely to produce expensive missteps like financial fraud. The study said 61% of investors consider CSR a sign of “ethical corporate behavior, which reduces investment risk. Recently, many investors have been trying to form an investment strategy by examining the sustainability reports created by companies.
I’ve observed a number of successful companies today that use social responsibility as a way to give back to society and thank customers for their loyalty. Whatever form these corporate ventures take, they are definitely a win for both the company and the community alike.”
Key Interferences from CSR
- Being a socially responsible company strengthens a company›s image and supports the building of a sustainable brand.
- CSR is currently regarded as an important action to gain customer satisfaction and employee loyalty.
- Social responsibility guides employees to use corporate resources correctly and economically and is money-saving to the institution.
- Formal corporate social responsibility programs increase employee motivation and lead to greater productivity in the workforce.
- It provides healthier communication between customers and consumers.
- It supports the development of societies, nature and a stronger future.
- CSR is a sign of accountability to investors, as well as increasing investor interest.
- It positively affects the values and culture of the company.
Company Values Should Align with CSR
As the reports reveal, more consumers today are demanding that companies change the way they do business, become more transparent and take an active role in addressing social, cultural and environmental issues. Corporate social responsibility has definitely consolidated its place in today’s corporate world, and businesses that ignore it do not seem to have a chance anymore.
The fact that the year 2020 was under the shadow of the pandemic and the reflection of social and economic problems to the whole global position made CSR more valuable in the eyes of consumers. CSR has developed very rapidly in the last decade, but the rapid developments in current events and changes in consumer expectations cause the demand to be achieved more than before. As billions of people around the world now face the daily effects of economic downturns and uncertainty, they expect companies to offer more solutions.
In recent years, especially the issues of racial justice, the climate crisis and the improvement of women’s place in society and business life have caused voices to be much louder. Consumers can now hold companies accountable if social values do not align with their actions. As a result of this, companies are making efforts to create this requested inclusiveness.
On the other hand, CSR is also seen as a part of corporate improvement. Experts state that CSR is also an element that can power profitability. One of the reasons for this is that “people will appreciate and remember companies that stepped up to lead in 2020 and beyond.” From this point of view, the health-based crisis experienced in 2020 highlighted the expected assistance from companies: for employees, society and the global good. The misfortunes of 2020 have triggered the introduction of many CSRs by companies, but again, thanks to this crisis, it has been seen that these efforts need to be taken to the next level.
For example, factors such as poverty and hunger are required to be corrected not only for one day but for generations. Businesses have the expertise and resources to create meaningful change. What needs to be done is to examine the compatibility of the brand and corporate values with CSR. Research shows that the brand is not just a logo or identity, but also an instinctive feeling that the consumer has about the organization. If the brand and CRS are not in alignment, you run the risk of alienating audiences and undermining brand trust.
According to Cone Communications, when offered a choice between two similar products, 90 percent of consumers choose the brand they perceive to have a better CSR presence.
Songmi Kim and Heejung Lee’s recent study “The Effect of CSR Fit and CSR Authencity on the Brand Attitudes” defined the concept of authenticity as “recognizing and believing that an act is derived from sincerely caring for others, rather than deriving from duty or responsibility”. Consumers are researching more than before and looking for companies that create authenticity. It has also become important for consumers to support businesses that reflect their own values because they want the value created to be long-term, and they believe that will be supported.
For these reasons, the authorities say that companies should dedicate themselves to CSR, build customer, investor and public trust and measure and report them. It is necessary to know that CSR is not about supporting a specific event or program; it’s about using time, talent and financial resources to achieve systematic positive change.
“We Will Continue to Create Values That Will Continue For Generations”
Nowadays, it is more important than ever for companies to focus on social responsibility. For companies, social responsibility means the obligation to achieve achievable and good long-term goals for people and the world. Companies, which are the cornerstones of the global economic structure, can no longer exist only with factors such as making a profit, creating employment or making new investments. It is not enough to ensure customer satisfaction, which we always mention, only with quality service. It is very important to be reliable and this reliability now includes the facts of adding value to people, societies and the world. It is necessary to act as a problem solver and see this as an essential part of the organization.
As an institution that is aware of social and natural problems and the need to solve them, we focus on social responsibility more and more every day. In this direction, we try to add value to all the shortcomings of global life, from sports to the environment and from strengthening the place of women in society to climatic change. As Globelink Ünimar, we are trying to provide solutions to the problems of nature and the climate crisis, the most important problem of the world, with our environmentalist investments. We have always supported Turkey’s important NGOs such as TEMA, AÇEV, and Darüşşafaka for 25 years. Through our in-house sustainability studies, we make an effort to use and protect natural resources in a controlled manner together with our employees. We contribute to the development, entrepreneurship and achievements of talented and young people in different branches through our sponsorships. In this direction, we are happy to contribute to the success of our accomplished track pilot Berkay Besler in 2020. We also sponsored the SPARC robotics team that represented Turkey in the international robot competition last year. Again, as one of the stakeholders of the “We Carry for Women” project implemented by KAGIDER and DFDS Mediterranean Business Unit in 2020, we provided support to strengthen the place of women in society and business life.
We will continue to mark the social, economic and cultural values that will continue for generations by carrying our responsibilities in this field to the next level in the future.
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