Corporate social responsibility promotes the idea of companies being aware of the ethical and moral impact that they have in society. Primarily, most companies are interested in how much profit they make and what ways of working are the most cost-effective for them. But isn’t there something bigger to think about? Trying to completely shift the consciousness of companies from profit to behaving responsibly is unrealistic, but by unsettling the balance and making companies think twice before they act, things can change!
TheGivingMachine works with thousands of online retailers to provide them with a simple, easy way to continue to be more socially responsible and help to make a difference to communities. We’ve tapped into the online retail market where customers continue to spend increasing amounts of their time and money. This means that there’s a great chance to turn this spending into charitable giving. When customers buy things from a retailer we’ve teamed up with, a small percentage of their purchase total gets turned into a free donation towards a charity of their choice, at no extra cost. This means that retailers can help to make a meaningful contribution towards the communities that they are a part of and benefit from. They can give back.
If companies build a reputation around being socially responsible and look beyond maximising profit-making ventures, they have the chance to create a new conversation with customers. It can be a conversation that touches on the views, beliefs and ethos of a customer, whether it’s an issue about animal welfare or fair trade. Customers are more than just a statistic and by connecting with them through meaningful, responsible action, a company has the chance to make a positive, long-lasting impression.
Sustainable business is no longer a buzz phrase that corporations can use without any evidence of behaving responsibility in their sector. The increased visibility of brands and the transparency that companies now need to act with means that it’s possible for customers to research a brand before they buy. Instead of the power balance being skewed in the company’s favour, customers are now empowered by the amount of information they can gather about the conduct of a company. When companies are behaving in a way that undermines the confidence of their core customer base, the internet makes it possible for them to confront this. They can hear first-hand, through social media, from customers who are unhappy about a company’s conduct.
With companies having to make themselves more open and transparent, this can only have a more positive impact on their social responsibility and behaviour. Companies can be held accountable by the public, who have the ability to challenge them about the way that they practice. Errors of judgement and unethical behaviour by companies is more widely circulated and customers will take factors like this into consideration before they buy, as they are more informed than ever before. Customers can influence the conduct of a company by withholding their custom.
If companies want to be successful then they have to think past profit and look towards how they can make a difference. A customer wants to see a company that cares and they’ll search for it until they do!