10 Examples of Exemplary CSR Initiatives
We've compiled a collection of CSR examples that are worthy of review and imitation.
We've compiled a collection of CSR examples that are worthy of review and imitation.
Recently, we explained corporate social responsibility, or CSR, as a set of practices that organizations use to contribute to the well-being of their immediate community.
Fairly abstract, we admit. It can be hard to imagine what exactly those practices could be.
So to help you better understand how organizations engage in CSR, we’re here to show you a couple of examples of exemplary corporate social responsibility initiatives.
In this post, you’ll discover how companies like Xerox, TOMS shoes, Juntos, Levi’s and Starbucks contribute to and improve society.
In 2018, XEROX made it to the “100 Best Corporate Citizens List” by Corporate Responsibility Magazine for the twelfth consecutive time.
And to no surprise.
But we want to highlight another of their social responsibility activities - the XEROX Community Involvement Program (XCIP).
The XCIP is the company’s longest running program of its kind and it takes a glocal approach to CSR. Xerox uses this initiative to fund employees in their local communities to make a difference on projects of their choosing. Since 2012, they have sponsored over 18,000 projects with more than 400,000 employee participants!
Xerox is a global company, but giving their employees control over the program on the ground makes a lot of sense. They are able to identify real needs in their communities because they live in them.
Like the time they built shelving units at a Maui food bank or when they helped with disaster relief from tornadoes in Alabama and sponsored breast and cervical cancer awareness in small towns across Poland.
And what’s more, as part of the program, employees could take a paid leave of absence to be able to focus entirely on the social project under their Social Service Leave Program.
Learn more about Xerox’s commitment to CSR in their Corporate Citizenship reports.
Food waste statistics are nothing but shocking.
According to the data from Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations:
Luckily, some food companies have begun taking action to tackle that problem.
Take Chipotle’s and Intermarché’s ingenious “The Inglorious Fruit and Vegetable” campaign, aimed at reducing waste of less-than-perfect looking food.
And the results? According to the information published by Intermarche:
This initiative is a complete success because it’s a win-win-win campaign: consumers get the same quality products for cheaper, the growers get money for products that are usually thrown away and Intermarché increase its business by selling a brand new line of products.
TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie’s story must be widely known by now.
Touched by witnessing the hardships of Argentinian children having to grow up without shoes, Mycoskie launched TOMS with a simple idea - to match every pair of shoes sold with a new pair for a child in need.
But what started as just a shoe company has grown into an amazing, socially responsible organization that, as the company describes themselves:
“[...] helps address need and advance health, education and economic opportunity for children and their communities around the world.”
Since their launch, TOMS has given 60 million shoes to children. But Mycoskie hasn’t stopped there. He continuously launches new initiatives to address other challenges faced by communities around the world.
Some examples of these non-shoe initiatives include:
Juntos’ initiative is based on a similar principle as TOMS - for every pair of shoes sold, the company donates a backpack filled with school supplies to a child in Ecuador.
Each backpack includes a year’s worth of school supplies - pencils, pens, rulers, and notebooks.
But why Ecuador? Because Juntos produces and sells El Zapato de Lona - the Ecuadorian street shoe. They believe in giving back to the place that inspired their company. And as they explain:
So, because we discovered an amazing canvas street shoe in Guayaquil, Ecuador, a child in that city gets a backpack.
Patagonia is an outdoor company dedicated to keeping the environment healthy. According to them: “As our company grows, we are faced with this challenge: the more we produce, the greater our impact is on the environment. If we are going to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis, as our mission states, we have to reduce our overall impact, regardless of the number of products we sell.”
To do this, they set out to be as transparent as possible and tackle different environmental and social issues at every step of their supply chain. For example:
In 2018, for example they have the Blue Heart of Europe awareness campaign that focuses on conservation efforts in the Balkans.
Learn more about their commitment to a sustainable supply chain here.
People are at the foundation of every business.
But for the most part, as Jessica Davis Pluess points out over at BSR:
Too often, typical supply chain compliance programs fall short of ensuring that worksite-based improvements have meaningful impacts on worker livelihoods beyond the workplace.
However, Levi Strauss is a company dedicated to change this by focusing on empowering workers financial, health, and family well-being.
And that’s the premise of the Workers Well Being initiative launched by the company in 2011.
As Chip Bergh, Levi’s CEO and President explained:
Our intent for the Worker Well-being initiative is to continue to serve as a catalyst to transform the apparel industry by setting a new standard for valuing and investing in apparel workers’ lives.
The company takes a unique approach to addressing their employees’ needs. Instead of forcing new initiatives on employees, Levi’s regularly surveys their workers to discover what they need to become more engaged, healthy, and productive.
And based on the feedback, they partner with various NGO’s and non-profit organizations to implement programs that deliver on the workers’ needs.
And the result? See for yourself:
See the full infographic at Levi Strauss.
In 2002, Nu Skin Enterprises, the vitamin and skin-care products marketer, launched an intriguing initiative to combat hunger in Malawi, a small African country stricken by severe famine and poverty.
But unlike TOMS or JUNTOS, the company doesn’t match purchases with donations. Instead, it allows customers to buy and donate nourishing meals, called VitaMeal to hungry children.
Customers can purchase VitaMeals and choose to donate them to a charity partner, who in turn, can distribute them to people in need.
Furthermore, the company matches every five-bag option with another bag, providing an additional 30 meals.
And the outcome? The initiative helps feed 100,000 children daily. And as Erick Meier, Vice President – Supply Chain for Convoy of Hope - one of the charity partners stated:
We continue to make significant impacts in these children’s by having successful, productive partnerships. Happy, nourished children are a direct result of our partnership with Nourish the Children over the last year and we’re grateful for their support.
Everyone recognizes Twitter as one of the leading social media networks.
But did you know that the company also dabbled in wine making? And for a good cause, at that?
In 2010, Twitter launched The Fledgling Initiative campaign to support Room to Read, a non-profit organization promoting literacy among children.
Enter Fledgling Wine. The company produced and sold its wine, donating all proceeds from sales supporting the non-profit organization.
As Biz Stone and Evan Williams, Twitter founders explained:
The Fledgling Initiative embodies two things that are at the core of Twitter’s mission: providing access to information and highlighting the power of open communication to bring about positive change. This initiative is just one piece of that approach.
The acronym for Starbuck’s CSR initiative stands for Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.)
In its simplest form, C.A.F.E. is a set of buying guidelines that ensure that:
And these are just some of the many guidelines the company developed to ensure:
[...] sourcing sustainably grown and processed coffee by evaluating the economic, social and environmental aspects of coffee production.
Hard to believe that this initiative has its roots in a letter to the company from a nine-year-old child.
But it’s true.
A couple of years ago, LEGO received a letter that said:
“When I grow up, I want my kids to grow up in a healthy world.”
And as it turns out, it wasn’t the only time young people shared their ideas for improving the world.
In response, the company launched Build the Change initiative - a series of events held around the globe, giving children a voice to tackle various challenges they face. Lego wants these events to be a place where kids can creatively explore and collaborate on solving problems.
Each event has a theme, i.e. “build your school, neighborhood, etc.” and as LEGO says, its goal is to:
[...] emphasize that children’s ideas and creations are the inspiration for the future.
Good CSR should be aligned with company values and the brand, LEGO does an excellent job of keeping all three strong.