For years, corporate social responsibility (C.S.R.) received a lot of lip service. Companies always talked-the-talk, but now they’re walking-the-walk. That’s partly because it’s the right thing to do, but also because consumers increasingly are rewarding businesses for their community involvement and punishing them when not living up to expectations, said Nico Roesler, managing editor, in the October issue of Baking & Snack magazine.
Some companies like Clif Bar & Company, Emeryville, Calif., have set the gold standard with its commitment to sustaining business, brands, people, community and the planet.
“It’s not enough to avoid bad behavior,” noted Thao Pham, vice-president of community and executive director of the Clif Bar Family Foundation. “A company has to engage in positive social and environmental impact. The speed and ease through which consumers can get this information today has certainly upped the game.”
Surveys seem to back Ms. Pham’s observation. A 2016 report by Mintel, “Perceptions of Companies that Support Charities/Non-profits,” showed 37% of adults would be more likely to purchase products from companies that donate to charities. On the flipside, Mintel’s “Ethical Consumer, US — July 2015” report indicated 56% of consumers are likely to stop buying a product if they perceive the manufacturer as unethical, and 23% would share that information on social media.Think about it. Consumers feel good when they boycott a “bad” brand, Mr. Roesler said. And, C.S.R. is only going to become more important in the future. Younger people are holding businesses to higher standards. A recent report by Nielson indicated that 81% of millennials expect their favorite brands to make public declarations of corporate citizenship. In today’s world, it certainly pays to invest in C.S.R. and walk-the-walk.