Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a massive undertaking, and it’s becoming an increasingly important program for businesses to follow. Corporations have the capacity to do great good or great harm to their surroundings, so with the public demanding more CSR from businesses, and increasing competition from other business’s sustainability efforts, companies everywhere are being pushed to develop more CSR initiatives.
So what kinds of sustainability programs can you create, without disrupting your existing processes, and what technology can help you along the way?
Types of CSR
“Sustainability” is a broad term, so here are some practical examples of how your business could introduce more sustainable practices:
- Going green. One of the most obvious routes of sustainability is one that’s been marked with increased importance over the past two decades: going “green.” There are many ways to do this, including reducing your energy expenditure, reducing pollution caused by your company, and even planting trees.
- Community and charitable support. You can also promote sustainability by planning initiatives within and giving back to your community. For example, you might sponsor a program to encourage entrepreneurship or have your employees volunteer for an effort to preserve a local park. Charitable contributions are always appreciated.
- Employee life. Sustainability can also refer to your hiring and human resource management practices. Responsibility here means making sure to give equal opportunities, diversifying your staff, improving employee wellness and education, and allowing people to advance their careers, without putting a burden on their physical or mental health.
How Technology Can Help
None of these methods is free, and all of them require some effort. Fortunately, there are some key ways that technology can help:
- ERP software. While some of these efforts can be taken care of easily by writing a check, others will demand significant resources from your organization. Managing those responsibilities and investments with other important measures can be difficult without enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to back you up. While not a strictly necessary platform for all businesses, ERP software can help ensure that you keep your investors happy, but still have enough resources left over to promote your sustainability efforts.
- Learning and human resources software. You can also upgrade your learning and talent management software, which can be used in a few different ways. You can use it to secure more talented and/or more experienced staff members, who can contribute more to your sustainability efforts, or you can use it to better educate and train your staff, giving them more opportunities and making you a more sustainable employer.
- Marketing software. How will you be able to improve your reputation through sustainability, unless your customers know what efforts you’ve taken? Marketing and advertising software can help you promote your best sustainability efforts, and improve your public relationships. Just make sure your promotional efforts are informational, and not exploitative.
The CSR Representative
While technology can play a major role in the efficiency of your operations, it still pays to have a human element planning and overseeing your campaigns. If you can afford to have one, hire a CSR representative (such as a CSR Director or a PR Director whose core responsibilities include managing CSR initiatives with other departments). This gives you an accountable point person to maintain direction and control of your CSR programs, and also gives you a leader to inspire your other employees to make more sustainable contributions. Together with your tech acquisitions, your CSR campaign can flourish—and you’ll stand tall with your competitors in this age of sustainability demand.