“A good company offers excellent products and services. A great company also offers excellent products and services but also strives to make the world a better place.”
These are the words of the Father of Modern Marketing, Philip Kotler, in his book, Corporate Social Responsibility: Doing the Most Good for Your Company and Your Cause
Big corporations and fast-food chains are more famous for doing CSR works compared to small businesses, though 99 percent of businesses consist of SMEs in the European Union alone. This can mean that if those SMEs do a bit of corporate social responsibility work, it will have a huge impact on society as a whole. If you believe that only big corporations like Chipotle, Twitter, and Levi Strauss can implement CSR or corporate social responsibility, then you should probably look for ways to incorporate them in your company.
Why Corporate Social Responsibility Is Important For SMEs
The objective of a partnership project between the UN and SuperGreen Solutions summarized the importance and role of SMEs in sustainable development. It reads, “We believe the next frontier of sustainability will not be found in looking at large corporations, but individual SMEs and, as such, we should approach the problem through an SME’s eyes.”
This is related to what Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, believes in: “You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for change.” Being that pebble in a huge pond does not mean you cannot change anything. Just like what Cory Booker said, “Small acts of decency ripple in ways we could never imagine.”
A change that begins within can create a huge impact on the outside world. Employees would want to stay longer in a company that works for a cause. This is more evident in millennial employees who always seek meaning and value in what they do. More and more customers also choose to do business with a company that has CSR programs because it makes them believe that they are being part of a “greater good.”
Corporate Social Responsibility Ideas for Small Businesses
Just because you own a small business or you work in a medium-sized company, it does not mean that you cannot have an impact in your community. Remember the saying “a small ripple can create a huge wave”.
There are four types of CSR:
1. Environmental Sustainability Initiatives
2. Direct Philanthropic Giving
3. Ethical Business Practices
4. Focus on Economic Responsibility
For small businesses and startups, it may seem like it is hard or near impossible to do them because of time, money, and other expenses. However, doing CSR work does not really mean you need to shell out a huge amount of money.
For example, you own a small inn or hostel in your community. Most hotels offer complimentary breakfast and because of it, you need to prepare food. One branch of CSR is Philanthropic Responsibilities or being a good corporate citizen. According to Archie B. Carroll and her diagram Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility, this branch is an important part of the growth of society.
With the food you prepare, you can donate or give the excess or leftovers to homeless people or street children. A good example is what Starbucks is doing with their leftover pastries.
Another branch is Ethical Responsibilities or doing what is just and fair. According to the same diagram, the society expects it. One example of this is pricing your products and services right. Another example is buying your raw materials from the local community at a fair price. Following your own set of rules and regulations inside your company and set an example for your own employees to follow would be an ethical thing to do as well.
The third branch is Legal Responsibilities. It also means obeying the laws and regulations, which is required by society. This one is mostly related to taxes and being environmentally appropriate. If you own a small farming or poultry farm, the chemicals and waste should be disposed of properly. Or if you own apartments and townhouses for rent, paying taxes on time and maintaining their wellness is important.
Last year, our company, Magellan Solutions, took the initiative in sustaining our environment. Our project, in partnership with a pioneer environmental organization, focuses on protecting and restoring the existing habitats of threatened bird species. Aside from its direct support to the organization, we also planned to have an awareness campaign within our company because we want to make sure that people feel a more supportive company that does not only focus on revenues and company growth but also in helping the country.
Advantages of Corporate Social Responsibility
According to David Goodman, president of SuperGreen Solutions, there are “four Ps” of business performance:
Each one can be related to CSR and how it can positively impact your small business. First is profit. According to SuperGreen Solutions, companies that get the award of Green Compass Sustainability Award have had 20 percent higher sales and margins.
As for people, they have found out that employees of the same companies have had 55 percent higher employee morale, 38 percent higher employee loyalty, 50 percent less employee turnover, and 16 percent higher employee productivity.
For the promotion part, it obviously increased the awareness of people to these companies as they reached a new audience because of the CSR. It improved its public image and market value.
These positive outcomes are not only attainable by huge corporations but can be achieved by small businesses too.