Business Advice

Corporate social responsibility: Why doing good is great for business

- June 6, 2023 3 MIN READ


Businesses need to be ‘doing good’ and prioritising their corporate social responsibility. CEO of Victorian not-for-profit, State Schools Relief, Sue Karzis shares why organisations need to use their position and profit for the benefit of the community.

Today’s working and business climate is a continually changing landscape. While traditionally, there has been a high level of trust in many industries, situations such as the Royal Commission into banking has seen a decline in this regard.

Taking the banking industry as an example, banks were considered to be trusted institutions by baby boomers and customers often had a personal relationship with staff, who they dealt with when applying for housing loans.

Today though, business ethics are severely lacking and customers are continually questioning which organisations can be trusted. Tales of shocking and unethical behaviour are increasingly coming to the fore.

Businesses should be funnelling some of their profits into not-for-profit causes. Everyone knows why this should be done – it’s all about corporate social responsibility. But beyond this, there are lots of sound business reasons for doing good and giving back.

Corporate responsibility matters

More than 50 per cent of respondents in Nielsen’s Corporate Social Responsibility survey said that they were willing to pay more for products and services if they knew that companies were committed to positive social impact. Trust and ethical behaviour now rate highly for consumers. Perhaps this is because they are more educated about social responsibility and are willing to vote with their feet – and their wallets.

It may sound like a big statement, but the proof is in the pudding: unless organisations start emphasising ‘doing good’, relevance and performance will start to diminish.

hands holding a paper earth globe with smiling face

And when it comes to working environments in Australia, highly engaged employees tend to work in organisations which are values-driven and place emphasis on corporate social responsibility.

Millennials, who will make up almost 75 per cent of the total Australian workforce by 2025, want more than just a salary. They are searching for roles with meaning; they want to work for organisations that make purposeful decisions with their profits. In fact, a survey done in 2016 by Deloitte found that 81 per cent of millennials believe “the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance”.

How to make it known

That’s all well and good, but how can companies engage meaningfully with a customer base who demands social impact?

Those companies that are doing it well are using social media to demonstrate their social impact. Rather than talking about their products or services, they are showing their customers the meaningful projects that the company and its employees are engaged with. They know that by demonstrating their impact, customers will choose their brand and engage with their services.

If you do the maths here, those companies that are doing good will obviously turn over the most profit, purely because they have an engaged customer base who want to support their company, and in turn, their not-for-profit cause. By having a strong purpose, measuring impact and having a values-driven organisation, companies are better able to engage with their customers and staff, enhancing their performance and reputation in the process.

The real question here though, is when it comes to doing good and supporting not-for-profits, what are you waiting for?

Article updated for 2023.

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