Lawpath: How to make your business socially responsible

Research shows that customers expect businesses to be socially responsible. Seventy percent of customers want to know how the brands they support are addressing social and environmental issues. With customers focusing more on ethics and responsibility, your small business might need to play its part too.

Adding corporate social responsibility (CSR) into your business’ culture and operations might be important. It could help you attract more customers and profits while making a positive impact in your local community.

Here are three ways to make CSR a part of your small business:

Protect the environment

Climate change and other environmental issues are an ongoing concern for many customers. Finding ways to practice sustainability in your business can have a big impact. It also gives you an opportunity to lead by example. If you find a unique way to build environmentally responsible practices into your operations, you could also get some press or recognition for your efforts.

While you’re brainstorming those big earth-friendly ideas, there are quick ways to get your business off on the right foot. You could encourage employees to bring reusable cups to use during coffee breaks (or give them one with your company logo on it), make sure the office is recycling, or switch to solar energy.

You can also try some eco-friendly branding. Sustainable business models are easy for customers to see and can be an easy win if you promote them right. You could switch to recyclable or compostable packaging, use organic products in your services, and make sure your product is ethically made.

Many businesses think “environmentally friendly” means “more expensive”, but this isn’t always the case! Some changes could actually save you money in the long run.

Help the local community

Businesses can have a big impact and help create real change in their local community. It’s not just a great way to improve your neighbourhood or city. It can also be a fun teambuilding exercise for staff, and it reminds everyone that your business is there to help others.

There are many ways for businesses to get involved in the community. Team volunteering is a popular option, whether that’s through joining a fun run or organising a fundraising event. Some companies even provide employees with time off to volunteer throughout the year.

Sponsoring an event is a bigger way to volunteer while getting your business name out there. You can start by contacting local schools, charities, or community organisations that may have fundraising events that could use a sponsor. In exchange for a donation of money or goods, they may let you advertise your business at the event.

Finally, your business may be able to offer charitable services directly to those in need. Offering your services pro bono or donating your products to relevant charities can help people coming from a disadvantaged background. For example, a salon might offer free haircuts to the homeless or a restaurant might donate food to a shelter.

Treat your employees right

Australia is a multicultural country, and that diversity is seen in many businesses. Different individuals have different needs. Recognising this and creating ways to support staff of all backgrounds can help create a positive workplace.

Flexible work schedules can be great if they work for your business. Employees appreciate things like work-from-home options and accommodating different start times. It’s also important that these options be offered equally where possible. For example, parental leave schemes should be offered to both mothers and fathers, so parents can share caregiving duties in a way that suits their family.

Your business can also recognise the diversity of its staff. There are many calendar days that can be used to raise awareness of the issues facing different groups. These include events such as R U OK? Day, Harmony Day, Reconciliation Day, and International Women’s Day. Celebrating these days in the office can help create a more supportive workplace. You can also promote these in-office events on social media to help raise awareness and promote your business.

Taking the lead

As more businesses embrace CSR, we can help create real change within our local communities and the wider world. It could also help make your workplace happier, attract new customers, and increase your profits.

Our partners at Lawpath can help you access legal advice for an affordable price through their Legal Advice Plan.

Contact a Lawpath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest legal marketplace.

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