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7 Steps of effective CSR

One’s social and environmental conscience will leave a lasting impression on the consumers and society at large. A survey in that regard clears the air. A Cone Inc. survey reports that if a company is socially and environmentally responsible, it will be trusted more by people. The survey saw 83% people giving their agreement to this fact. Now not only how many CSR activities, but how effectively any company communicates these activities, is imperative too. Besides putting a company’s social contributions in a spotlight in the best possible manner, let’s explore more how to engage consumers and stakeholders. Let’s have an expert insight on how to put any organisation’s best social and environmental practices in the spotlight:

Setting measureable goals: In most of the cases measuring return on investment is a major challenge. To be able to accomplish this in your CSR policy, any corporate, experts suggest, can implement miniscule changes like working towards the improvement of employee policies that reduce turnover and enhance recruitment. Some simple steps could be minimizing resource and waste use. Developing a story around these areas can help a corporate learn how a corporate can support its overall corporate strategy through such sustainability efforts.

Engagement with the stakeholders: Market experts are of the view that one of the biggest mistakes companies make while dealing with the social/ environmental arenas is to keep stakeholders aloof. If any corporate needs to convey its plans, mission, strategy and impelementing factors towards its CSR plans, egalitarianism needs to be established. Stakeholders, for instance, can prove good catalysts in relationship building, regulatory approval processes, solving hurdles in the way of CSR or resolving potential crisis. It is better if a company keeps its stakeholders in close loop for all the developments happening in the area starting from consultation process.

Sustainability issues mapping: This approach can help corporates in a big way. This process makes use of interactive maps to prioritize and categorize the key issues. The approach can save big bucks and time for corporates during the initial research stages. Many experts term this approach as the most fruitful approach as it has the potential to make everything inclusive, which is supposed to be, but usually don’t.

Sustainability Management Systems: To ensure that the social, economic and environmental concerns of any company are streamlined throughout the decision-making processes, a good framework is required. Identifying and priortizing sustainability aspects and aftermaths could be a prerequisite. Thereafter having a close eye about the legal requirements related to these aftermaths and further evaluating the firm’s current unanimity. Joining hands with an environmental consultant will be an added advantage. The next step should be clearly defining the company’s goals and objectives. Final steps would be training and educating the employees about using SMS effectively, and periodically running audits will ensure that the process is being carried out in the most effective manner.

Lifecycle assessment: It has been a thing of past when only immediate product was the sole kind and rarely would anyone think of the lifespan of the product. On the contrary, today product design and lifespan is critical. This approach is imperative to put forth the creative and innovative aspect of the company, thereby enhancing the final outcome. While dealing with re-using your product or designing it in the most effective way, building brand loyalty and consumer rapport are imperative.

CSR Reporting/Sustainability: Government regulations, which are on a constant rise and self-regulatory forward-thinking companies, have played a vital role in popularizing CSR reporting in the last few years. Any corporate’s consumer base needs to have an easy and user-friendly access to your latest CSR activities and that too in a way which doesn’t mar the glory and scale of your efforts. A simple and best way could be uploading your CSR reports on the company’s website in a format which is easily downloadable or accessible. Asking for feedback from the top fans and users (stakeholders) would be an additional advantage.

Sustainability Branding: Upto a larger extent, sustainability branding depends on transparency. For instance, Clorox Green Works established a stronghold by capturing a market share of 42% in its first year only. Reason was that it had been endorsed by Sierra Club. Since then the market for natural cleaning has flourished more than ever leading many small brands (Seventh Generation, Method) to follow suit thereby enhancing their customer reach to a larger customer base. However, avoiding green washing is recommended.

— Reproduced from various research documents

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