Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a source of positive public relations. The issues of ethics are relevant to PR. In the global economy, where companies manufacture goods in one part of the world and sell them in another, businesses are expected to maintain high ethical standards. Nowadays consumers want more than just low prices, and they want businesses to treat employees fairly. For instance, consumers do not want to see child labor being used for fashion brands.
One way in which businesses have been attempting to improve their reputation is through CSR programs, which would fuse environmental and social concerns with a company’s planning and operations. These programs are not only carried out for the sake of improving a company’s reputation, but also benefit the individuals within a company as well as the communities they serve. CSR is a positive development where companies engage in active and meaningful relationships.
CSR is not just a publicity tool, and it attracts quite a bit of criticism. There are those who distrust everything that businesses—particularly big businesses—do, and those who believe that businesses should not be involved in CSR at all. Irrespective of the motivations, many CSR schemes have produced benefits for society, and the move towards CSR continues. One of the many goals of PR is to share an organization’s CSR efforts and contribute to strengthening its image and the trust of its customers.
Examples of CSR
- Some common examples of CSR are the following –
- Community volunteering
- Improving labor policies
- Reducing carbon footprints
- Environmentally conscious investments
- Sustainable objectives
- Diversity, equity and inclusion
- General donation
- Fundraising for disaster relief
Public relations practitioners who manage CSR programs should be able to build relationships, understand society, and handle stakeholder relations. They should be able to contribute to the creation of a strategic vision for their company. It is incumbent upon the PR industry to act in an ethical manner because of its powerful position in relation to the media. PR practitioners have an important role to play, acting both as a link between a community and company, and as an advocate for that company. During the difficult times of the pandemic, quite a few organizations have practiced CSR.
Some examples of recent CSR programs are discussed below:
1) True festive spirit
Last Christmas, employees of Eviivo.com decided to give up their traditional office party. They pre-booked non-refundable stays at hotels and inns largely impacted by the pandemic in order to increase reservations. The company matched the employees dollar-for-dollar and donated a minimum of a one-night stay per employee. This endeavor showed their timely support for the hospitality industry.
2) Donating PPE
When COVID-19 patients were filling up hospitals, 7-Eleven donated one million masks to the Federal Emergency Management agency for distribution in the medical community. Armani switched production to single-use overalls for healthcare workers. These are excellent examples of CSR that shows that businesses can pivot towards urgently needed products and services if circumstances need them to do so.