Why Does Corporate Social Responsibility Matter?

Oct 13, 2017

Q&A with Chloe Hansen-Toone, Director of CSR at Thermo Fisher Scientific & Melissa Small, Global Manager of Corporate Responsibility, Community & Partnerships at MilliporeSigma

What are the benefits of having a strong Corporate Social Responsibility program for both for-profit and non-profit organizations? 
From the nonprofit perspective, a strong CSR program demonstrates that the for-profit company is committed to partnering with nonprofits to make an impact on the community, particularly in the specific cause areas that the company focuses on.
From the for-profit perspective, CSR has moved from a nice to have, to a need to have. Not only do key stakeholders expect it, but it also serves to drive employee engagement, as well as allows a company to leverage its expertise and resources to positively impact society.   
How can you get employees and external stakeholders engaged in and excited about CSR initiatives? 
There are several ways to engage employees and stakeholders in CSR initiatives, including: 
  • Ensure employees have the flexibility to execute initiatives as they see fit rather than mandating certain focus areas.
  • Empower employees by providing them with opportunities for leadership and professional development in areas of CSR that they are passionate about.
  • Provide easily accessible tools and resources for employees to engage, volunteer and give back. 
  • Have senior management highlight the importance of CSR within the company. 
  • Focus your CSR initiatives to align with your business, leveraging your expertise and resources to make the most impact.
How can businesses measure the ROI from CSR initiatives? 
It can be challenging to measure the ROI, as many of the benefits of community outreach remain largely intangible. However, it’s still important to outline the metrics you want to track upfront so you can build in feedback mechanisms into your programs from the start. One way you can do this internally is through employee surveys. 
It is also important to work closely with your nonprofit partners to identify metrics and the most effective ways to assess impact of your partner programs. Sustainability initiatives tend to be easier to quantify either through cost savings, avoided fines or reduced risk, although there are creative ways to measure ROI of other programs, even if the goals are a bit abstract. 
To learn how to maximize the mutual benefits of CSR programs and strengthen community ties and partnerships, register for MassBio's CSR forum on October 18th: https://www.massbio.org/events/corporate-social-responsibility-for-profit-non-profit-partnership-with-purpose-1724

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