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Corporate Responsibility in Action

What CSR Causes Do People Care About Across The World?

Created: 14 May 2012
Pamela Hawley's picture
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This just out: the latest causes companies support. As a socially conscious professional, you care, but you have to focus on business objectives.You need to meet the bottom line for your company and your department. Yet let's not overlook how CSR can play into your bottom line. Your CSR department is critical, and at the same time, to be at its highest point of efficacy, must also be conjoined with how your business units operate. 

First, let's review some of the top findings across the world. Please note the difference between the U.S. and other countries' perspectives. While the environment and healthcare top the global list, the concern in the U.S. differs a bit. Please also note Brazil's growing influence in CSR and our industry.

This study found that protecting the environment (91%) and improving the quality of healthcare (89%) are the top two global concerns. In the U.S., it's poverty and healthcare. Significant opportunities exist to engage consumers by linking brands and companies with social causes that people think are worthwhile and that align with the brand or company. 

  • In the US, people care most passionately about alleviating hunger and homelessness (93%)
  • In China and India, it’s an equal opportunity to education (96% and 97% respectively) and protecting the environment (97% and 95% respectively) that people personally care about most
  • In Germany, France and the UK, protecting the environment is the highest concern (85%, 90% and 87% respectively)
  • In Brazil, 96% of people care about protecting the environment and improving the quality of healthcare

So how does this relate to your bottom line? There are unlimited opportunities for business units to implement "care initiatives" that affect the bottom line. Today we'll focus on two business functions: Marketing and HR. Knowing that environment is important to China and India, you can print messages on the packaging relating to your sustainability efforts, your supply chain, a part of your CSR report, or even the general amount of individual contributions employees made to the environment, even if they aren't a part of the primary cause areas at your organization. 

Great step on the environmental front regarding Marketing, as it will help increase the positive effect of your brand; increase product adoption; increase trust; create loyalty. But how does that relate to HR?  

The upcoming generation of workers wants to know. Twenty-somethings want to know how your company helps the world. They will work for you longer; buy your products, promote (or not promote, or negatively review) your products depending on how you leverage your CSR. It's a requirement to hire them, retain them and to encourage them to buy your product. 

This is one of many examples of how you can operationalize CSR causes to your benefit. Be aware that one of the most important points to take away is that it's not just what you do—but where you do it. A cause initiative in one part of the U.S. may or may not be as effective in Brazil or China. Be "local" in how you implement the causes you promote. Enjoy the process of thinking through how your department can make your company a profit center with a societal conscience, and the world a stronger place. 

Statistics Source: Edelman’s Good Purpose Study

Pamela Hawley is the founder and CEO of Universal Giving, a nonprofit focused on helping people volunteer with the top-performing projects globally.