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Door: Martine Hooijer, 4 June 2015


CSR & Communication: Practise what you preach

Practise what you preach when it comes to your organization’s communication about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to stakeholders. When you do it right, this communication will, in addition to being both informative and inspirational, also provide economic value.

Corporate social responsibility means the quest of an organization to seek a balance  between the creation of economic profit and its accountability in socio-ethical and ecological areas beyond the organization. The goal is to provide the same development opportunities to the present generation as to all future generations.  Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in order to contribute to solving the climate change problem is a good example of demonstrating one’s corporate social responsibility.

Benefits
The list of benefits of corporate social responsibility is almost endless. Various studies have shown that CSR, in addition to the benefits for people and planet leads to:

– Increased customer loyalty,
– Higher purchase intention,
– Increased attraction & retention of employees,
– Increased employee engagement and morale,
– Goodwill and good reputation among stakeholders,
– Brand differentiation in a (relatively) uniform market,
– Greater acceptance of price increases,
– A shield against criticism in times of crisis

Communicate about CSR!
CSR pays off, but in order to realize the maximum benefits, it’s necessary that stakeholders such as employees, suppliers and customers know exactly what initiatives your organization is involved in. In other words: communicate!  The most important aspect of CSR and communication I believe, is the phrase ‘practice what you preach’: communicate what you have actually done, and really implement the points which you are communicating.

Image
When your own behavior and communication are misaligned, you create an undesirable situation. The image you portray does not reflect your true identity and that, in a world where millions of people daily are active on social media, can be quickly lead to a PR problem.  That’s why the term ‘greenwashing’ is so hot nowadays. Search on Twitter about the topic of greenwashing and be surprised by the best and worst practices you’ll find in this area!

Also read our blogpost about how to communicate about your carbon neutral business.

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