5 Ways to Win at Corporate Social Responsibility in 2022

Krista Greenaway

Krista Greenaway

5 ways to win at Corporate social responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a commitment by companies to incorporate social and environmental considerations into their operation. Most importantly, to do this in a way that achieves a balance between their stakeholder expectations and their CSR activities. Here’s how to win at corporate social responsibility every time.

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How companies approach corporate social responsibility varies between organizations. But with 94% of Generation Z agreeing that business should be socially responsible and 90% of shoppers globally more likely to be loyal to brands that take their pro-social objectives seriously, it is not an area that companies should gloss over.

It’s no longer a choice but considered a responsibility for every business.

corporate social responsibility in the workplace
photo credit: officeexecutives

How Important is Corporate Social Responsibility in 2022?

With a dramatically changing community landscape, CSR has become even more of an issue in 2022 than ever before. In light of the far-reaching effects of climate-related and other calamities, companies are becoming involved beyond writing a cheque and issuing a press release for feel-good brownie points.

Forward planning and active involvement in disaster planning are critical trends for CSR in 2022. Some take it a step further by developing and maintaining emergency response strategies in areas where their suppliers and employees reside, including partnerships with locally positioned NGOs.

Check out this article from The CSR Journal that outlines their five predicted CSR trends for 2022 for more insight.

business man holding important work documents
photo credit: Bruce Mars / Unsplash

What is Corporate Social Responsibility & Why Do Business Owners Care?

The question is why corporate social responsibility is important to business owners. Why go to all this trouble to not only look good but be agents of change?

Tracking the Change: The Internet Outed Questionable Business Practices

Businesses had to change when the average consumer, almost overnight, could see what they were doing. With information accessible to everyone connected to the Internet, the impact businesses and their supply chains were having on the environment and communities became apparent in a way that it hadn’t previously.

Consumers started to purchase according to their conscience, and buying loyalties shifted towards corporate social responsibility.

The Four Types of Corporate Social Responsibility

CSR did not begin with the Internet. It was a conversation that started back in the 1950s but became more defined by Archie Carroll in 1991 as a “Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility” with four key areas.

  1.  Legal Responsibility – Obeying all relevant local and international laws.

  2. Ethical Responsibility – Avoid causing harm and be just, moral and fair.

  3. Philanthropic Responsibility – Giving back to society and improving the community.

  4. Economic Responsibility – Invest in the community from a position of being profitable.


We can add a fifth to the pyramid, one that wouldn’t have been seen as relevant when it was conceived, and that is:

  •         Environmental Responsibility – Engage in environmentally friendly practices, and give back through programs/projects that promote environmental sustainability.
female consumer making a card payment
Photo credit: Pickawood / Unsplash

Consumers: The Driving Force Behind CSR Programs

Customers increasingly demand accountability and responsibility from their favourite brands and are prone to switching their allegiances if they don’t measure up. This trend is a critical driving force behind the popularity of CSR activities.

Some businesses genuinely want to incorporate CSR as their mandate, but others see it as an intelligent business move. Regardless of which camp you fall into, ignore the consumer at your own peril.

Understanding Why Your Business Should be Sustainable

Let’s have a quick look at the tangible benefits that businesses gain from their CSR initiatives:

  •         Employee engagement: People want to work with employers who care and often look for companies with their own values. Improve employee retention, engagement, and loyalty with the right CSR strategy.
  •         Supports communities: Whether you are operating locally or globally, we are all in this together. Supporting communities paints you as the good folks from an e-commerce marketing perspective, and well, it’s just the right thing to do.
  •         Furthers the UN Sustainable Development Goals: These are essential to the world’s future. But did you know that being on the side of these goals is popular with most consumers and can increase your ROI?
  •         Increased investment opportunities: Global sustainable investing is popular as investors feel they, along with corporations, have a lead role to play in combatting climate change. It cannot be the sole responsibility of government entities. Be one of those corporations they want to partner with, and your ROI will thank you.
  •         Press Popularity: When you have a great CSR strategy, the press and your consumers will be talking about you. Talk about your environmental efforts to increase your industry market share. It’s not the only reason you do it, but it’s a powerful side benefit.
  •         Customer loyalty & retention: Customers are loyal to brands they can trust. CSR programs build trust and, therefore, customer retention. Even better, consumers tell their peers and networks about positive brand experiences on social platforms, which opens up your sales to an extended customer base.
  •         Brand perception: Top talent is more likely to want to work with you. Customers want to buy from you and proudly wear your brand, and investors see your brand as one they want to associate and work with on an extended basis.
  •         Improves ROI: Social and sustainable objectives can boost your bottom line in various ways. See this article from Forbes that dives into how this works.
successful corporate social responsibility data
photo credit: Stephen Dawson / Unsplash

Get Started with CSR Using These 5 Easy Steps



1. Harness Your Core Business Values

Lip service to social and environmental sustainability is not enough. Consumers are savvy and connected and will see through any disingenuous attempt to harness CSR goodwill. Instead, take a close look at your brand, your suppliers, and your local community. What opportunities are there where your contribution can have a positive influence?

What causes are you passionate about? A paper manufacturer can support saving or planting trees or offset the carbon emissions generated by transporting their products with an equitable, sustainable, or regenerative program.

Use your CSR as an opportunity to give back, and while creating it, take the opportunity to consult with employees and community members. It helps to rally their participation after implementation.


2. Inspire Participation

The key to participation is making it easy. Generally, you will need to envision various ways to enable people to become involved. Generational differences can help guide you. Text messaging may be ideal for younger folks to get involved, but older community members may need an alternative method to be a part of your program.

Be creative, be inclusive, and don’t forget to get your workplace invested in what you are doing because they will help to spread the word and encourage the broader community.


3. Budget Wisely

Allocate an amount to your CSR program at the beginning. Your CSR initiatives shouldn’t harm your ROI. Remember, you can expand your social and environmental sustainability investment over time. Starting is essential, and expansion is the goal.

4. Reroute Profit

Corporate social responsibility isn’t all about profit. It’s about contributing towards sustainable programs to offset your carbon footprint. It’s about helping your consumers in times of calamity and being a responsible community member. You need to find the balance between profit and CSR that fits your business and accept that investing a portion of your profit will reap immeasurable benefits.


5. Broadcast Achievements

Don’t be shy. Tell people about what you are doing in every way possible. It will increase participation and loyalty. Talk about how proud you are of your involvement and achievements, highlight employees that are excelling in participation. Your CSR is a marketing opportunity, and talking about it will attract positive feedback, new consumers, and investors that align with your causes.

The Key to Successful CSR

With all that information in hand, let’s summarise the key points.

Balance is what you need between a CSR that reflects your core business values, engages your employees and community, fits into an acceptable budget, and appeases the profit gods (your shareholders).

Use the measurable benefits in a profit/loss exercise that demonstrates how your business can thrive by being socially engaged. And the ace card that we all have to play is that it is all of our responsibility to act in the current climate crisis. Corporations don’t get an out card because they want to profit. You as a business are responsible for offsetting the damage your business causes, directly and indirectly.

Don’t do it alone, however. Use the creation of your CSR as a companywide project, encourage ideas, and make sure everyone is heard. Include community consultation, and a plan will come to mind. Networking and collaboration are central to a great Corporate Responsibility Plan and are the essence that will drive it to success.

And, lots of programs are available now ready to partner with you, there is no wheel inventing needed just some research into the causes that make your blood pump and your heartbeat.


Your carbon footprint needs offsetting, and the action is now! Your community supports your business, provides the profits that you reap, and it is your responsibility to give back. It’s time to win at CSR and ensure that the future communities inherit a world that has regenerated and is sustainable, not destroyed by apathy and inaction. 

When you see the forest and the trees, then you know your environmental sustainability efforts are working!

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