B2B Companies and Purpose/Social impact

Part
01
of two
Part
01

B2B Purpose and Social Impact Articles-Part 1

Five articles that include information on B2B companies and their CSR goals/impacts include works coming from the Digital Marketing Institute, Forbes, the Harvard Business Review, DemandGen Reports, and the Borenstein Group. Within the articles, a wide selection of companies with strong CSR policies or practices is mentioned; some companies are Google, Netflix, Salesforce, Boeing, Interloop, and Alyce.

16 Brands Doing Corporate Social Responsibility Successfully”

  • Digital Marketing Institute, a leading publication for marketers, published this article in 2018 or early 2019 (based on an estimate of the info presented). No author is listed, but the article is part of the company’s DMI Daily Digest, under the Corporate Digital Transformation section of the educational and information materials.
  • The article discusses what social corporate responsibility (CSR) includes, mentions how Millennials want to see more of these actions from companies, and briefly touches on how the activism of this demographic is changing the consumer expectations of companies all over the globe. Additionally, as outlined in the article title, a selection of mini-mini-case studies is given on 16 brands’ CSR goals and policies.
  • Of note, the companies outlined in the article are all conglomerates or giants within their industries, with most of them having had historical (and some current) issues related to their huge (and mostly negative) impacts on the world’s environments. Many of the mini-case studies outline how they are working to combat the primary issues their business models cause. Examples of these types of companies are Google (committed funding to renewable energies and having low-energy data centers) and Coca-Cola (supply chain updates to reduce huge carbon footprint due to contributing over “3.7 million metric tons of greenhouse gases to the world”).
  • Other companies are noted for their policies, like Netflix’s policy of offering 52 weeks of paid parental leave to their employees (as opposed to the 18 weeks offered by other companies in tech or 24 weeks offered by Spotify), while other companies are listed for their outstanding approaches to solving the world’s problems, like TOMS, which gives away one pair of shoes for every pair of shoes they sell (the 1:1 approach) and which has given away “over 60 million pairs of shoes to children in need.”

How Corporate Social Responsibility Benefits B2B and B2G Brands”

  • Alexa Kelly wrote this article on February 1, 2019, for the Borenstein Group, experts in branding and marketing that were named as “one of the top leaders in the US Advertising & Marketing Industry in 2019” by “Clutch, the leading B2B rantings and reviews firm.”
  • The article outlines a few reasons why integrating CSR policies into corporate culture will benefit the company’s bottom line overall. These benefits include things like the “positive publicity” companies generate from charity work and donations and how press coverage of these positive actions typically results in sales and revenue boosts. A Nielsen survey found that 53% of American consumers “make purchasing decisions based on a company’s commitment to the community.”
  • Additionally, employees are happier and therefore more productive and loyal when they work for companies with strong CSR policies, because these policies allow them to “be happier knowing that they are making a difference in the world.”
  • An example of one company is the tech giant Salesforce, which uses a “1-1-1 approach to philanthropy,” wherein they put 1% of company equity toward employee-community grants, 1% of the products they produce are freely-given to nonprofit organizations, and they pay employees to donate 1% of their time to volunteer projects. Another example is Ben & Jerry’s, a company that has been dedicated to social responsibility since it was first developed decades ago; they give 7.5% of pre-tax profits to a variety of charities.

Purpose At Work: How Interloop Activates Purpose to Drive B2B Growth”

  • Simon Mainwaring wrote this article for Forbes, and it was published on April 2, 2019. The article notes how “consumer demand for brands to make a positive contribution has sparked a purpose-driven business movement,” with brands in the US and all over the world jumping onboard. B2C companies led the way, and now B2B companies are “leveraging purpose to build their reputations, cultures, and growth.”
  • Interloop, the global leader in hosiery manufacturing, is featured based on their focus of putting “people, the planet, and progress at the core of its business strategy.” With huge outputs of products (and waste materials) every year and considering its expansive growth, the company has made a huge impact on the environment. Notably, it also has focused on reducing that impact through reduction of its environmental footprint, as well as fostering “social well-being” programs.
  • Interloop offers recommendations to other businesses trying to improve their CSR goals and impacts. The first is to “weave purpose throughout your value chain” by making CSR-related changes at every step in the workflow and with every partner organization with which the company works. Another recommendation is to “measure, monitor, and improve on purpose,” or continual measurement of the value of what the company is doing, as well as the outcomes of taking those CSR-directed moves.
  • One additional recommendation is to “join global conversations,” and work toward meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Interloop’s policies address nine of the UN’s recommended policies: “#1 No Poverty, #3 Good Health And Well-Being, #4 Quality Education, #5 Gender Equality, #6 Clean Water And Sanitation, #7 Affordable And Clean Energy, #8 Decent Work And Economic Growth, #10 Reduced Inequalities, #12 Responsible Consumption And Production.”

Reskilling Workers Is a Central Part of Corporate Social Responsibility”

  • Adam Medros wrote this article in the Harvard Business Review, which was published on October 1, 2019, within their Education section. Medros works for edX, which is a global provider of MOOCs (massive open online courses).
  • In the article, Medros outlines a recommendation for companies to include worker reskilling within their CSR policies. He notes that these policies already focus on giving “back to their communities and [making] a positive impact,” and they can also “join the fight against economic disparity and inequality to safeguard the future labor force.” Medros explains how “CSR in its purest sense” has the most positive impact on the broader community that the company serves (like the state over the city, the world over just the country, as example), not just the direct employee populations or direct-impact communities.
  • Companies that offer educational opportunities to their employees, have a workforce that’s 94% more likely to stay to gain the benefits of that offering. Two examples he gives are: Boeing, which offers the Learning Together Program, an employee-focused education program, and Amazon’s Career Choice Program, which helps employees wanting jobs in high-demand fields with “up to 95% of tuition and fees toward a professional certificate or diploma.” Both of these programs have trained thousands of new people
  • Medros notes that most companies now fall into the category of those that offer education to their employees only, and that expansion into the greater community should be the focus of the future.

B2B Buyers Demand Authentic, Consistent Investments in Philanthropy From Brands”

  • Elise Schoening penned this article for DemandGen Report, and which was published on May 7, 2019. DemandGen Report is a highly-respected marketing research company.
  • The article outlines research that shows “that 87% of buyers will purchase a product because the company supported an issue they care about, while 76% will refuse to buy from a company after learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs.” These experts recommend working to ensure that one’s brand is philanthropic and sustainability-driven, and that by building these traits into the company’s core values, a company can attract and maintain customers, and recruit and maintain top-tier talent.
  • They note that the authenticity part is most important, and that these give-back opportunities should happen all year-round. An example company given is Alyce, “a direct mail and swag platform.” The company values include the core goal of giving “first” and giving “consistently.” One way they do this is by partnering with sustainable organizations to create “direct mail gift invitations,” and for every invite sent out, “a tree is planted.”
  • Alyce has also partnered with other organizations focused on social change and world betterment, like Artists for Humanity, which helps people “impacted by homelessness,” and ArtLifting, which serves people impacted by disabilities. The article also details how CSR policies should always include “empowering customers and employees to give back,” noting that nearly three-quarters (71%) of global employees say “it is imperative or very important to work somewhere where philanthropy and volunteering are supported.” Additional company examples are given.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

B2B Purpose and Social Impact Articles-Part 2

Five articles that include information on B2B companies and their CSR goals/impacts include works coming from PRDaily, eCommerce Times, TopRankBlog, Business2Community, and G2. Within the articles, a wide selection of companies with strong CSR policies or practices is mentioned; some companies are LittleLeaf Organic, McDonald’s, Google, Microsoft, Walmart, Gillette, Dove, and G2 itself.

How and Why B2B Companies Must Embrace CSR”

  • This article was written by Scott Beaudoin and published in PRDaily on December 17, 2019. The article poses a question of how well B2B organizations stack up on CSR efforts and points out that these efforts are no longer just required of B2C companies, but of all companies in the global marketplace.
  • One of the places that companies focus their CSR efforts and should continue to do so (through a diversified CSR plan) is the supply chain. Procurement choices that “position their supply chains as ethical, environmentally sustainable, fair and diverse, and transparent” have become increasingly in-demand.
  • The article outlines that there’s been an attitudinal shift growing globally about redefining the purpose of corporations to include “diversity and inclusion” … “dealing fairly and ethically with our suppliers” … “embracing sustainable practices across our businesses” … andtransparency and effective engagement with shareholders.” Notably, the companies mentioned as “making prominent supply chain decisions” that are CSR-oriented are all big brands; one company is Lego, who is now making plant-based plastic blocks, while other companies include giants like McDonald’s, Google, Microsoft, and Walmart, each of who has made “high-profile renewable energy commitments.”
  • This major shift is contributing to the total number of companies in the global landscape that are working toward reducing their negative impacts on the community and world-at-large, as well as increasing the number of companies working diligently to improve the world’s environmental and social landscapes.

Engaging in Ethical E-Commerce”

  • This article was written by Vivian Wagner and published in the eCommerce Times on September 19, 2019, and details how “the merging of ethics with business” is not just a fad, but a best practice in today’s global business world.
  • Companies that have clear missions, visions, and values that incorporate CSR practices within every aspect of their business model are those seeing the most success in the global marketplace. One example is LittleLeaf Organic, a company dedicated to helping “people make better choices about their clothing and home textiles, delivering better quality, organic, sustainable products -- fairly made and fairly priced …” This strategy allows businesses to have clearer purpose and direction, to have deeper-level conversations with clients/customers, and helps keep customer relationships lasting longer.
  • Additionally, ensuring CSR practices are built into the supply chain helps improve “the quality of our relationships with our suppliers, too,” says the owner of LittleLeaf, Lisa Ingram. Another example is the company Packed with Purpose, who “seeks to raise awareness of social issues by combining its mission with the products it sells.” They use a gift-giving protocol to directly help communities and groups affected by social injustices.
  • Ensuring that the ethical stances taken by a company are authentic and directly proven by the company’s efforts in the marketplace, with its suppliers and buyers, and with its customers, is a necessary ingredient for success.

“3 Effective Corporate Social Responsibility Examples to Know”

  • Derek Doeing wrote this article for G2 on September 18, 2019. It defines corporate social responsibility (CSR) and gives two companies as strong examples of ethical CSR programs: Patagonia and Lush, and also details its own (G2’s) CSR strengths.
  • Since Patagonia and Lush are both B2C companies, they were skipped; G2 is a B2B company. They have created their own nonprofit ventures called G2 Gives, “that partners with our vendors and customers to unlock donations for local nonprofits ….” One of the local nonprofit beneficiaries of this program is called “New Story,” which works to “create sustainable housing for families in need.” G2 notes the benefits of these kinds of programs (CSR-focused) to include helping the global communities become more connected, ensuring the public knows they stand for more than just making money and are a strong asset to the community, engaging employees where their interests lie, and creating “a culture of philanthropy and radical care.”

Dare to Be Different: 5 Fresh Examples of Innovative B2B Content Marketing”

  • Lane Ellis wrote this report published in the TopRankBlog in April 2019. Example #5 given in the article details SAP Leonardo’s Plastics Challenge, which was a digital marketing campaign that highlighted the company’s CSR-focus on reducing plastic waste and pollution.
  • With 80% of “business leaders saying they would end a business relationship with vendors that didn’t address such high-stakes issues,” it’s more important than ever before for all companies, including B2B companies to focus on CSR efforts. The Plastics Challenge helped “increase awareness of the challenges of plastic pollution, and the importance of how people all over the world interact with plastics.”

“Innovative Marketing: When Corporations Embrace Their Social Responsibility Through Business Practices”

  • Anna Izenman wrote this article published on February 10, 2019, in Business2Community, which details the recent marketing trend of incorporating CSR efforts into brand marketing and advertising materials, and notes how this trend will continue to grow (and will become more important as we move into the future).
  • She writes of Gillette’s transformation from a company founded on masculinity to a company recognizing and supporting the speaking out against toxic masculinity through their recent viral ad supporting the #MeToo Movement, as well as Dove’s long-running Real Beauty campaigns that help women have body-positive attitudes. Both of these helped build awareness of positive social movements, and earned tons of loyal new customers in the process.
  • The biggest factors that determine whether CSR-focused marketing efforts will work are whether or not the audience feels the efforts are authentic (based on the company’s image and actions), how important good communication and transparency are to these types of marketing efforts, how diversity and inclusion efforts are becoming more and more pivotal to success, and how “volunteering can solve business and social challenges” and that all companies should support these efforts. The article includes additional notable statistics and company examples to support their statements.
Sources
Sources