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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is fast becoming a necessity for business survival. Increased consumer information, employee buy-in, and stiff competition are all reasons to adopt a CSR plan in accordance with a business’s values and mission. A well-executed CSR initiative can enrich a community and build a respective brand. However, CSR goes beyond simply donating to charity. In fact, there are four different types of programs that can be used in any combination depending on a business’s needs and values. 

 

Philanthropy

 

One of the most straightforward ways of adopting a CSR plan, philanthropic efforts most often involve monetary donations to worthy causes. Aside from direct donations, some of these companies may instead opt to leverage their innovations for the good of others, such as a technology company outfitting underserved schools with their products. Some of the largest companies in the world have entire foundations dedicated to philanthropic efforts. However, it doesn’t have to be as grandiose as that; smaller companies can partner with community organizations to sponsor mutually beneficial fundraising events.

 

Company Diversity and Labor Practices

 

Building a diverse team has been shown to improve perspective and performance in a company—however, changes need to be made throughout the entire organization. In addition, companies need to improve their accountability on issues such as sexual harassment and workplace discrimination. There’s no single best practice to improve and diversify your employee base. From constructing protocols to respond to violations to implementing labor policies that hold every employee to the same standards, building a safer and more diverse workforce will always be a work in progress that company executives should keep in mind.

 

Environmental Conservation

 

Between the broader threat of climate change to localized disasters, companies are more obligated than ever to address their impact on the environment. For larger companies, commitments to reduce emissions are becoming increasingly common. Even for smaller companies, initiatives such as a recycling program or making use of alternative energy sources in operations can be an important change to make. It’s also important for your company to pay attention to your supply chain, and make purchasing decisions with environmental impact in mind.

 

Volunteer Efforts

 

Flexible in that it can work in conjunction with other initiatives, encouraging volunteering among employees can give them the power to support causes they care about. Businesses can also plan for work retreats for volunteering, or offer incentives for employees to participate in volunteer work for causes related to their CSR plan. Again, community involvement can be beneficial; don’t be afraid to poll employees on what they would find valuable—some may even have valuable connections to local organizations.