Corporate responsibility is the way a company takes responsibility for its actions and their impact on employees, stakeholders, and communities.
It includes how your company conducts business, manages its impact on the environment, treats its employees, and how it supports community activities that aim to solve social problems like discrimination or poverty.
It’s not enough for companies to just donate money to charity, or invest in charitable businesses.
Charity is, of course, a great thing to be involved with, but as Deepak Agarwal says, the core of corporate responsibility is about ensuring that everyone in your organization is accountable and works to earn the trust of the consumer and investors by meeting the expectations of ethical and responsible behaviour.
Adopt a Business Code of Ethics
A business code of ethics will outline employee conduct on issues including ethics, values, environment, diversity, employee respect, and customer service.
A lot of entrepreneurs are opting to go even further than this by changing their governance document to include how committed they are to social and environmental goals.
Follow a Workplace Health and Safety Program
Creating a clear program for workplace health and safety will help you to establish reliable systems that will protect your employees and prevent injuries and accidents.
It will also make sure that your company is compliant with any government legislation on health and safety.
Commit to Protecting The Environment
Develop policies and practices that will help your company to live up to your commitment to protecting the environment.
For example, you could produce a report that documents your activities and the results as they relate to your impact on the environment.
Some companies prefer to produce a broader sustainability report which covers social, economic and environmental activity.
Get Your Suppliers On Board
Make sure that your suppliers are aware of and meet your expectations of responsible behaviour when it comes to issues like fair pricing, for example.
Screen suppliers to determine their past conduct and tell them what you expect from them.
Be Smart About Donating Money
Get behind causes that are meaningful and make sense for your business. For example, if you’re a forestry business, you might choose to support organizations that protect the environment.
If you’re in manufacturing, you might choose to donate to community organizations in the towns you have plants in. The idea is that you give back to society, while at the same time sending a positive message about the values of your business.
Don’t Greenwash Your Business
Use marketing techniques that are fair and honest, and that reflect your company’s integrity. Avoid any advertising or communication that could be viewed as manipulative or harmful to the public.
Make sure you walk to the talk and that your company actually does what you say it does, otherwise you could be at risk of a massive backlash for your customers.
Explore B Corp Certification
A lot of public and society-minded entrepreneurs are choosing to get B corp certified.
B corps are companies that have been certified as beneficial. Their purpose is to create value for society as well as earn money.
They meet high standards of transparency and accountability and work to create positive benefits for society and the environment.