There has been a growing trend of businesses integrating sustainability practices into their operations and adopting a more socially responsible approach to their business practices. This is in response to the increasing awareness and concern about the environmental and social impact of business operations, as well as the expectations of consumers, employees, investors, and other stakeholders. While customers & stakeholders concerns grow about the environment & business' actions behind the scenes, this makes a stance on Corporate Social Responsibility so much more of a deciding factor when it comes to trading.
Sustainability has become a huge focus of CSR initiatives for so many businesses. This involves minimising the negative environmental impact a business may have on the planet, while promoting long-term sustainability. Some common sustainability practices that businesses adopt can include reducing your greenhouse gas emissions, conserving water, reducing your energy usage, utilising eco-friendly materials and packaging, and promoting sustainable sourcing and supply chain management.
Many companies have set sustainability targets and are taking proactive steps to achieve them to show their intentions. One example being IKEA, the global furniture retailer, has committed to becoming climate positive by 2030, which means reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than the company emits. This involves investing in renewable energy, improving energy efficiency in stores and warehouses, and promoting sustainable transportation options for their customers.
Community engagement is another aspect of CSR that is gaining huge attention. This involves businesses actively engaging with the local communities in which they operate. This can stretch from in-house, regarding your staff, through to the wider community such as school programs. Investing in charities whether they relate to your business practice or not, it can be a fantastic way to show you care about the community you operate within.
Engaging with customers and other stakeholders to understand their needs and concerns is becoming more important by the year. Although you may be working on your community engagement, if the actual community doesn't consider your actions as effective it may be a waste of time. Ben & Jerry's, the ice cream company, have a long-standing commitment to social justice and environmental activism, regularly engaging with customers and stakeholders to understand their priorities and concerns rather than act in a directionless manner.
An emerging trend in community engagement is the concept of "shared value," which involves creating economic value while also addressing social and environmental challenges. This approach recognises that businesses can play a critical role in addressing social and environmental issues, and that there is a strong business case for doing so.
Taking everything into account, sustainability and community engagement are two key trends in corporate social responsibility that are driving businesses to be more socially responsible and environmentally friendly. By adopting these practices, businesses may not only enhance their reputation and brand image but also contribute to a more sustainable and equitable future for all.