In an increasingly connected world, consumers are demanding the companies they do business with do their fair share to protect and promote environmental and social awareness. This new global mindset has forced businesses around the globe to take a hard look at their practices and many times find ways to better serve their customers and world at large.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is much more than a buzzword. It signifies a global shift of awareness and has been defined as the difference between ‘doing good and doing well’.
Companies from startups to huge conglomerates are increasingly incorporating social and environmental initiatives into their strategies to highlight their commitment to the global customer and the world we all share.
Tech giant Microsoft, for example, has partnered with the nonprofit NETHope to create IT apprenticeships in Kenya. Meanwhile, clothing retailer Gap Inc. has implemented programs in Cambodia and India aimed at teaching health awareness and literacy to women in the garment industry.
Richard Glover, president at PepsiCo Beverages Canada, spearheaded his company’s CSR program. Glover describes the CSR focus as evidence that they are “committed to achieving business and financial success while leaving a positive imprint on society—delivering what we call ‘performance with purpose.’ It’s at the heart of every aspect of our business.”
Intelligently, these companies have realized that it is no longer feasible to make a profit without giving back. Of course, every strategy isn’t transferable, which is why each company must evaluate their own business model to see where they can make socially responsible and environmentally aware changes.
“Mounting and sustaining social initiatives takes time, talent and resources. But increasingly, it is what investors, customers, employees and other stakeholders have come to expect and demand,” notes the Wharton Business School’s website. “Millennials — industry’s new and future customers — cast a particularly keen eye on companies’ commitment to social impact.”
Canadian-based student tourism provider S-Trip! is another company that understands the unique demands that millennials have for the companies they do business with. S-Trip! offers student focused and graduation trips and has seen an environmentally conscious awakening in young travelers in recent years. S-Trip! has also been noted for its inclusion of volunteer efforts in its travel programs, something that has elicited a positive response on the company’s S-Trip! reviews page.
The company, which employs a number of millennials who happen to be former S-Trip! travelers, is uniquely equipped to handle these expectations. Earlier this year, to honour their ongoing commitment to implementing CSR protocols, S-Trip! announced their ‘Leave Only Footprints’ initiatives.
“It’s a campaign that all employees of I Love Travel [S-Trip!’s parent company] believe will help the environment,” said company representative Derek Champoux. “Each employee gets reusable water bottles and coffee cups to reduce waste of plastic bottles and cups.”
Since installing a water bottle station a few short weeks ago, the company has already saved over 2,000 plastic bottles.
“The next step in our initiative is to empower the places that we visit, and the suppliers that we use to embrace the initiative,” he said. “We want to drastically reduce waste and change that mentality around travel.”
By eliminating plastic water bottles from their trips S-Trip! believes they can keep more than 125,000 plastic bottles and cups out of landfills each year.
Thanks to the connectivity of the web companies can leverage their CSR initiatives for their benefit. Forward thinking social companies can use their CSR as a brand differentiator for attracting the millennial market, which is good for the world and their bottom line.