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If you’re a social media user, you’ve likely seen plenty of posts about what people—even those without a religious affiliation—are giving up for Lent. There are the usual suspects, of course: chocolate, alcohol, bread. But a recent Mashable article highlights a different focus. The trending hashtag #PlasticFreeLent exposes a growing consumer movement that focuses on sustainability. And, it helps explain why companies increasingly work toward Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards. What advantages do these companies gain?
Meeting consumers ethical expectations protects your bottom line
Today’s consumers are less brand loyal than their predecessors. But that’s not the only factor that is driving change in how consumers make buying decisions. As Forbes pointed out in 2017, “As our population gets older, Millennials are getting closer and closer to snatching the baton away from Boomers — not to mention the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world.”
With $30 trillion dollars on the proverbial auction block, understanding what motivates people to choose a brand had become the challenge of the day.
The article identified four questions that Millennials ask when looking for socially responsible companies:
Committing to Corporate Social Responsibility enhances your reputation
According to a global corporate social responsibility (CSR) study by Cone Communications, people are less likely to do business with companies that are perceived as irresponsible. And in the digital age, where a single headline can unleash a tweet-storm of condemnation, companies face ongoing reputational risk.
Managing reputational risk takes a proactive approach. Ongoing risk monitoring can help companies stay alert to potential threats that surface in the media. But a commitment to meeting environmental, social and governance standards offers an extra layer of protection. How?
If you’re invested in doing good, you build a loyal customer base. Some of the world’s most popular brands¬ are known for their environmental or social commitments.
Plus, you’re less likely to get blind-sided by negative news. If an issue does come up—because we all know that third-party risk is a complex beast to tame¬—consumers will be more forgiving, especially when a company acknowledges the problem and quickly (and transparently) moves to correct the issue.
Reputation and profits are great incentives for embracing CSR, but there’s one that’s even more compelling. The world needs you. As the UN has explained on its Sustainable Development Goals website, “… Ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.” How can your company contribute to a better world?