In today’s society, people expect more from corporations. It’s not just enough to create a great product or provide a useful service. Giving back to the communities they’re part of is important too. Companies want consumers to value their brand because consumers often have a multitude of choices. So, corporations try to provide some extra value, which would probably be focused on social responsibility and environmental awareness.
When a corporation sets good examples of social responsibility, it creates a good image for itself as well as creates a better pathway for other corporations to follow, improving the world for everyone. There are many avenues for corporate social responsibility: environmental efforts, ethical labor practices, various philanthropic efforts and charity donations, volunteer work, and more. It does not really matter which of these forms a corporation chooses, but it must undergo this type of work to contribute to the community.
Here are six examples of social responsibility by major corporations. These examples show that corporations can achieve their business goals while giving back to people, supporting employees and workers around the world, and doing their part to protect the environment for future generations. With today’s consumers becoming more socially aware, companies are recognizing that social responsibility is good for business.
The history of coffee involves a lot of exploitation of workers in places where coffee is grown. Many coffee companies are now working to improve the conditions of coffee farmers and workers around the industry, and Starbucks is no exception. The company’s C.A.F.E. (Coffee And Farmer Equity) Practices set out guidelines that ensure the company’s coffee is sourced sustainably and ethically.
Starbucks demands transparency throughout its entire supply chain. All coffee suppliers are required to submit records of all their payments so that the corporation can be sure that a fair percentage of the cost of the green coffee beans reaches the farmers who grew them. Starbucks is committed to supporting the rights of all the workers to have safe and humane working and living conditions, as well as good environmental management practices: protecting water quality, preserving biodiversity, and conserving energy.
Starbucks also provides great examples of social responsibility by supporting its own employees with a commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as giving back to the community through community service programs. They partner with Feeding America to support food banks and fight hunger, and they support their employees’ volunteer work by providing resources and encouraging this work through their Global Month of Service initiative.
Patagonia has a long history of caring for the environment and its employees. This outdoor clothing company is proud to establish several great examples of social responsibility. The company uses organic materials whenever possible (meaning fewer chemicals go to the environment). Moreover, Patagonia is committed to a recycling policy that goes above and beyond: they ask that their customers send back any of their garments that are no longer usable, and they will recycle or repurpose the materials. They’ll also repair garments that have more life left in them. These policies help keep clothing out of landfills. Finally, the company donates money to support the causes that are working to fight climate change.
The clothing industry has to reckon with its effect on factory workers and the effect of material sourcing on the environment. First, Patagonia is working toward improving the quality of life and working conditions for garment workers around the world. Patagonia is actively promoting fair wages in factories. Second, they require supply chain transparency for all of their materials, and they closely monitor the factories they work with to make sure that they’re meeting sourcing, quality, social, and environmental standards.
In addition to doing their part to help the environment and garment workers, Patagonia supports its employees with policies that grant generous parental leave and vacation time, child care, and more. They also run a paid internship program to help college students gain experience in a variety of areas. Contributing to the education and training of future leaders is an important example of social responsibility.
The popular children’s building blocks are an iconic part of childhood, and the company is committed to preserving the environment for the children of tomorrow. The LEGO Group is focused on reducing its CO2 emissions throughout the whole production and supply chain. They cooperate with the World Wildlife Fund to set emission-reduction goals and working to meet them by improving energy efficiency and investing in renewable energy. The LEGO Group is also working to increase its share of sustainable resources and improve its waste management processes.
The company is committed to engaging positively with local communities, with volunteer activities and programs for children in conjunction with their charity partners. Their Build the Change events inspire children to work for positive social change themselves.
The LEGO Group is committed to the well-being of all its employees, supporting diversity and maintaining a safe, engaging, and rewarding workplace. They recognize that they are not separate from their employees and their communities and that the way they treat their employees has a significant effect on the well-being of the people in the communities in which the corporation resides.
General Electric is possibly best known for its consumer appliances, but the company is also known for its various initiatives, including a huge push toward sustainable energy and clean tech. Their renewable business strategy, called Ecomagination, is intended to develop technology that is better for the environment, whether by reducing emissions or generating clean energy. Their conceptual Digital Wind Farm is predicted to be able to boost the production of wind farms, increasing energy production by up to 20%.
General Electric is a good example of a company that is actively adjusting its business practices to be more sustainable, and it is impossible to omit GE when mentioning examples of social responsibility in business. Just donating money isn’t enough to secure a sustainable future, and such companies like GE must utilize their enormous resources to create sustainable practices.
In addition to engaging in sustainable business practices, the charitable arm of the corporation, the GE Foundation, works to increase educational opportunities in STEM, improving global health, and contributing to disaster relief. General Electric also participates in gift matching for any employee’s charitable donation.
The online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos is known for its fast delivery and free return shipping, but the company is also committed to helping people in need with their Zappos For Good program. The charitable arm of the company undertakes several initiatives, including supporting kids in need with school supplies and setting up a program that helps people donate clothes, shoes, books, toys, and school supplies. When someone donates, they have the choice of several charities to support with the gift.
The company is showing some great examples of social responsibility with its commitment to sustainability in its daily operations. Most notably, their headquarters was designed to meet green building standards, and they focus on energy efficiency and water conservation in their building management practices.
What else? Zappos promote carpooling, biking, and busing by their employees. They’ve also partnered with designers who want to make a difference using an environment-friendly approach. For example, their support has led to the creation of limited edition shoes made from plastic that was retrieved from the ocean.
This fast-casual food chain is committed to sustainability in its practices, and they proudly promote this in every restaurant. They source their food products from farms that are committed to improving the well-being of their livestock and the environment. Chipotle continues to increase the number of local suppliers they work with as well as making sure that farmers are fairly compensated by requiring supply chain transparency. Chipotle is also pushing the recycling programs in their restaurants, increasing their use of renewable energy, and reducing waste.
The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation is working with a variety of partners to provide resources to farmers, promoting good stewardship and husbandry practices, and improving food literacy. They support family farms, recognizing that smaller-scale farming is an important part of many local economies, and the loss of small farms has a significant negative impact on the well-being of many communities. These examples of social responsibility support health and thrive for a sustainable future.