A hot topic today is what it means to be a responsible company. Is corporate concern for society and the environment genuine, or just another business strategy to generate higher profits?

Regardless of the answer, one thing is certain: every company has the potential to be an agent for change in society. And this agency is increasingly valued by Latin American consumers, according to a recent corporate social responsibility report.

What defines a responsible company?

CSR, or ‘Corporate Social Responsibility,’ refers to company initiatives that go beyond their standard operations, i.e., generating jobs and offering products and services to society.

This means taking a proactive stance towards the well-being of their community, the preservation of the environment and the quality of life and work of their employees. Here are some practical examples:

  • Producing and selling products in a way that doesn’t harm the environment
  • Sponsoring community projects
  • Paying people a fair wage and ensuring they have a good quality of life
  • Prioritizing diversity when hiring people
  • Supporting community leaders
  • Being committed to long-term projects
  • Offering courses and webinars
  • Creating events and projects that involve the community, with an emphasis on education and housing

Why is CSR so important for your company?

In a word: ‘purpose.’ Both for the company and its employees, and for consumers when choosing the brands that are part of their routine.

The idea of ​​’meaning’ ends up being lost in daily repetition. Instilling a sense of purpose can be a great motivator for employees; knowing that any action, no matter how small, is in fact contributing to something bigger.

In addition, corporate social responsibility has a real impact on employees’ self-esteem. In a study published in 2018, LinkedIn found that nearly half of the employees surveyed are proud to work with companies that have a positive impact on society, while 39% said they would leave their jobs over an ethical conflict.

This survey was conducted in the United States, but our study on the topic suggests that Latin Americans are equally concerned about workplace ethics — after all, what people value most about CSR is ‘paying employees fairly and making sure they have a good life,’ and ‘making and selling things in a way that doesn’t harm the environment.’

On the other hand, we cannot exclude the ‘profit’ factor from the equation, since it is extremely important for any company’s survival and success. Financial resources have a great influence on making social and environmental actions viable.

In addition, visibility among shareholders is greater

Being a responsible company is closely linked with brand reputation and crisis management. When these aspects are well-defined, the company’s positioning in the market ends up being more consistent, secure and long-lasting. This attitude appeals not only to consumers but to investors and shareholders.

Does credibility increase as well?

If your employees are more motivated, and your public relations strategy incorporates CSR initiatives, then your company’s credibility is likely to increase. Sherlock Communications’ study reveals that 61% of Brazilian respondents consider the news to be a valid source of information, while 45% say they trust the personal accounts of company employees.

This credibility is extremely important, since — as pointed out in a survey carried out by KPMG in 2020 — Brazilians value social awareness in brands more than most.

Therefore, in addition to helping the ecosystem in which it operates, a responsible company also generates recognition and admiration among its stakeholders: the best of both worlds for any modern business.

In order to achieve this status, companies should consider which courses of action are most relevant to them. After all, embracing all causes at once is impossible. Knowing how to share responsibilities with other organizations is just as important as taking the initiative in your area of expertise. In doing so, we can consolidate global purposes and make real change happen.