Traditional vs. Strategic: What’s up with Corporate Social Responsibility? 

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is essential to the philanthropic landscape. It serves as an instrument companies use to foster strategies that make social change. CSR receives its legs based on an outcry from consumers demanding more socially conscious companies. The traditional CSR concept has been in play since the 1950s. It’s often used for a company’s brand management and is a harbinger of attracting customers, employees, and potential investors. CSR initiatives assist companies in mitigating unanticipated risk, improving operational efficiencies, and ultimately contributing to long-term financial success.

There are a myriad of organizations in today’s global economy that are implementing strategic corporate social responsibility programs. These concepts take traditional CSR one step further. Keep in mind that there are distinctions between traditional and strategic CSR. Traditional corporate social responsibility programs consider volunteer-based activities to impact social and environmental change. Examples of traditional CSR activities include:

  • Charitable giving/donations
  • Sponsoring community events
  • Environmental protection initiatives
  • Offering a standard workforce benefits package

Traditional CSR remains essential to creating an impact on society and the environment. Interestingly enough, many companies are gravitating towards a strategic corporate social responsibility model because of the many benefits to the bottom line. In a global economy, small, medium, and large companies are turning towards a strategic CSR model that focuses primarily on the following concepts:

  • Ethical supply chain management
  • Employee diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Extensive and competitive benefits package
  • Job-specific training and partnerships 

Corporate Social Responsibility concepts allow companies to mitigate risk, improve operational efficiency, and contribute to long-term financial success. Strategic CSR takes traditional CSR one step further by integrating principles into every aspect of business operations and decision-making rather than being an outlier. CSR not only improves a company’s reputation but increases loyalty. Well-supported CSR programs are essential to long-term organizational sustainability and intensify recruitment tactics. 

As America regains its footing after a “Black Swan” moment with the Covid-19 epidemic. It’s not escaping anyone that many of the benefits between traditional and strategic CSR programs are the same. The ability to fully integrate social responsibility programs creates opportunities for innovation and greater financial returns for 21st-century companies. An average of 87% of Americans are more likely to buy a product from a company they can align their values, 9 out of 10 millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause, and half of all consumers are willing to pay extra for products if they’re buying from companies with assuring corporate social responsibility programs. 

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