Research proves that a company committed to genuinely participating in Corporate Social Responsibility experiences has many benefits. From increased workplace moral and limited staff turnover, to bigger profits and strengthened consumer loyalty, we are seeing more and more companies invest in CSR because it’s not only the right thing to do, but also good for business.
To the skeptics out there who believe consumers say they want to purchase and support products and services tied to CSR initiatives, but ultimately still buy the most affordable option, I say first, it is crucial for companies engaged in CSR to remain price competitive and produce quality products and services and second, let the numbers speak for themselves. Take for example, Unilever’s Sustainable Living brands which delivered over 60% of the company’s total growth, up from 46% last year, and grew more than 50% faster than the rest of their business in 2016.
Research has also established that companies with increased representation of women leaders, specifically, financially outperform, on average, companies with lower numbers of women in leadership roles, and the same goes for board gender diversity. Data from Catalyst and Harvard Business School suggests that the benefits of gender-inclusive leadership and the benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility are not mutually exclusive. Companies and society both benefit when leadership includes women – just look at the facts.
- Between 1997 and 2007, companies with a larger number of women on their board donated significantly more funds than companies with fewer women—with each additional woman board member representing an increase of 2.3 million dollars in donations.
- Companies with 25% or more women corporate officers in 2007 made annual contributions that were 13 times higher than those made by companies with zero women corporate officers.
- These studies have also uncovered that women leaders provide a diverse perspective on the allocation of resources, directing their corporations to expand their commitment to CSR.
- And finally, companies with more women leaders are not only more committed to corporate social responsibility, they may develop strategically higher-quality social responsibility programs, which positions their business for sustained performance and growth.
Successful CSR programs undoubtedly empower female employees and attract young female talent feeding the pipeline for future leaders. In 2015, Corporate Responsibility Magazine polled more than 1,000 adult Americans and found that 86 percent of the women polled said they would not join a company with “a poor CSR reputation,” compared to only 67 percent of males polled.
So why should we care about the impact of female leadership in CSR? It’s simple: because we should all care about building trust with our consumers, profits with our investors, loyalty with our employees, and our impact on humanity.
Mona Lipson is the Director of Strategic Advancement & Corporate Citizenship for Voss Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 2008 by the former Directors of VOSS Water of Norway. Voss Foundation is dedicated to funding water, sanitation, and hygiene projects in Sub-Saharan Africa as a means to enable community-driven development and raising awareness of the ongoing need in the region. Mona works closely with the senior leaders of VOSS Water to help position and message their social responsibility initiatives. Since 2008, VOSS has been the largest financial supporter of Voss Foundation. To learn more, visit www.vossfoundation.org.