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.