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Social responsibility: Giving Back

Business social responsibility definition

The official definition of social responsibility is: “An ethical framework advocating that individuals, business owners and organisations have the responsibility to contribute to the betterment of society.”

In other words, it’s the act of ‘giving back’.

Examples of business social responsibility include: charity donations, pro bono work, community service work and so on.

Why is social responsibility in business so important?

A 2014 study by Nielsen showed that 55% of global online consumers from 60 countries are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact. Nielsen found brands that promoted sustainability on their packaging or actively marketed their social responsibility efforts, achieved increased sales.

So, as a business owner, should you be socially responsible?

If you’re uncomfortable with the concept of giving back or disagree with it entirely, it’s probably not a path to pursue.

However, if you’re even slightly interested in social responsibility, then you should seriously consider incorporating it into your business and life. In fact, without realising it, you’re already giving back.

As a solopreneur, entrepreneur and micro business owner, you are already socially responsible.

If you work from home (thus avoiding a long car commute), you’ve reduced your carbon footprint which is socially responsible.

If you’ve chosen entrepreneurism because you love pursuing your passion, then your positive outlook and actions will change the lives of those around you = socially responsible.

If you work for yourself because you want to invest extra time in your family and community, you’re being socially responsible!

In a nutshell, you rock.

Alternative ways to be socially responsible in business

  • Do pro bono or discounted work for people or organisations who mean something to you.
  • Reduce your printing. You might even be in a position to go totally paperless.
  • Use environmentally-friendly products such as recycled paper, green printer inks and other eco-friendly products.
  • Try to use full or partly recycled packaging.
  • Drive less.
  • Donate a portion of your income to your preferred charity.
  • Align with a giving back initiative that relates to your business or industry. As solopreneurs, this is a great way to be socially responsible.

Examples of being social responsibly in business

One of my clients is a marketing-savvy arborist. Early on I suggested he align with a tree-planting organisation, so that for every tree he fixed or removed, another would be planted somewhere in Australia. He is now responsible for over 500 carbon-catching trees being planted!  For this and many other reasons, his business is absolutely sky rocketing.

In my website copywriting business, I donate to a number of worthwhile causes. In my slogan Creation business, two tagline packages include a Kiva Gift Card. The gift card is sent directly to my clients, who make a loan (which I’ve funded) to a business owner somewhere in the world. These micro loans help to eradicate worldwide poverty.

Now, tell the world.

Don’t be shy. Promote your business social responsibility on your website and other marketing material. No matter how small your initiative may seem, promote it because you’re changing the world, and also, it’s good for business!

What are your thoughts on the importance of giving back? Are you already socially responsible? Share your thoughts with me on Facebook. I’d love to know what you think!

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