As business evolves in the 21st century, there’s no shortage of CSR inspiration. What do Google, The Walt Disney Company and BMW all have in common? Other than being household names, they all vied for pole position in this year's ranking of the world's top 100 corporate social responsibility (CSR) reputations.
For these companies, their desire to be known for "doing good" is intrinsically interwoven with their core business strategy – as opposed to simply donating to worthy causes – which is why they are recognised by such indexes by the Reputation Institute.
Google place “doing good” at the centre of their corporate principles, and they also have an active corporate philanthropy program to boot. From a business perspective, there’s Google Green and Google Energy, which have committed more than $1 billion towards renewable energy projects. Google certainly does ‘walk the talk’ – they established these business units to reduce the costs of energy consumption of the Google Group of companies and strive towards being powered exclusively by green power.
The company also claims that it uses only 50 per cent of the energy of most other data centres. Within its google.org unit, the company is able to deliver socially-beneficial technologies such as Google Person Finder, which helps reconnect people in the wake of major disasters.
Another firm that takes its CSR seriously is international accounting heavyweight Deloitte – so much so that in 2009 they joined the steering committee of the World Economic Forum’s Global Education Initiative. Since then it has been lauded for many programs including its community investment hallmark – Deloitte21 – whereby the company helps under-served young people across the globe acquire education and skills to thrive in a 21st century economy.
In Australia, more than 30 of the company’s directors, partners and managers serve as mentors to students who are at risk of disengaging from school as part of the Australian Business and Community Network’s GOALS program.
Also on Australian shores, but from the IT sector, is software company Atlassian, who credit Gandhi for one its business values: “Be the change you seek.” While the company openly encourages everyone within the company to create positive change, they also inject 1 per cent of annual profit, company equity and employee time to social causes.
They remain the largest contributor to the Room to Read program in Cambodia, and to date their contributions have impacted more than 90,000 children. The company has also donated more than 13,000 software licences to the tune of $27.6 million.
What CSR initiatives do you employ?
As business evolves in the 21st century, there is no shortage of CSR inspiration.
From employee engagement programs, reducing environmental footprints to product innovation, good citizenship abounds.