Corporate Responsibility

A Foundational Approach to Corporate Social Responsibility

April 05, 2020

It might be easy to think, When I have more, I will do more. That train of thought can apply to many aspects of our lives, including money, time, resources, and more. The list is ongoing. Often, we believe that in order to be successful in these areas, we must first have a solid foundation beneath us. Certainly, some endeavors are more attainable or effective with that security. But, what if we committed to building up those areas as we are growing, rather than simply once we’ve reached the top?

This idea can be applied in business to the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The question is, how can we ensure this critical component to a successful, legacy company is a part of the organization from its inception? After all, waiting too long to take such action could result in it being perceived as an afterthought by your organization, your partners, your consumers, and even the overall public.

I could probably sit for a week at my desk and write about CSR and its effect, benefits, and importance and still feel like I’d only scratched the surface – and to be honest it wouldn’t all be a riveting read. So instead, in this blog I want to give you an overview about what CSR is, why it matters, and what the customers can do to support socially conscious businesses.

Design a Plan

It is important to create a CSR plan in the early stages of establishing a business or a brand. Those early days can be a bit tight financially. As such, it is not always necessary for CSR to require a financial contribution in the beginning, though it is recommended. If an organization cannot commit to a hard-dollar contribution at first, it is still important for its leaders to come up with a CSR outline and to decide how much money should be allocated in this area. Keep in mind, this should include identifying any labor costs, if applicable. It is also important to receive buy-in for the plan from any significant decision-makers, so designing a detailed plan early-on can have a big impact.

By working in philanthropy and financial contribution details from the get-go, it also benefits a company’s relationship with its consumers. These actions ensure there will be no future price adjustments or added costs from CSR efforts that will impact consumers, eliminating the illusion of mark-ups to offset any philanthropic contributions.

At the same time, this better secures your profit margin. By forming detailed measures for CSR in the initial business stages, it generates stability and longevity for the philanthropic model that you have created. In other words, you can better guarantee that you will follow through with your CSR promises when you ensure it is financially feasible in your model from day one.

My Personal CSR Goal

I have had the opportunity to take part in numerous sizeable business ventures over the years, and I have regularly practiced this CSR approach whenever possible. From the early days of my current role at Plexus Worldwide®, I put my CSR passion into action by assisting in the establishment of the Nourish One® Initiative, about which you have likely heard me speak.

CSR endeavors such as this often reflect the values, interests, and passions of company leaders and members. This is surely the case with Nourish One. It is my personal goal to end world hunger, as someone who faced food insecurity as a young boy. I know with the help of Plexus and Nourish One, we can make a tremendous impact on this goal. I also know that I cannot do so alone—not in the next few years, decades, or even in my lifetime. But this does not mean it cannot be done.

Our impact would be multiplied exponentially with the support of other like-minded companies that value their CSR impact. If we joined efforts with other legacy organizations, it has the potential to produce remarkable results. Let’s say it would take approximately five years for Plexus and Nourish to help support 100 million children. If the goal is to feed 250 million kids, then we must challenge others to partner with us.

As leaders and decision makers, we must ask ourselves, How can we contribute? Do we have a real, solid, tangible goal that we are working toward? How do I play a part in these efforts? Who can we join to support our collective CSR goals? Your answers to these questions could be the beginning of a strong collaboration and an even more profound contribution to the world.

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