Corporate Social Responsibility: Business and the Environment

shutterstock_47441620Throughout the past decade, some of the most popular trends in the business market have been focused upon corporate social responsibility in terms of protecting the environment and giving back to the community through green initiatives.  These projects should be considered by businesses of all sizes, including small businesses that operate on a local level, and larger companies that work on the national or international level.  It might not be about the scale of impact that you make, but rather the gesture of contributing to the wildlife that may be impacted by your general business practices, that gets you attention from the media and boosts the interest of the public within your company’s work and general mission.

Environmentally Friendly Actions:  Serving as a Role Model

Companies sometimes fail to realize that by investing a portion of their profits into projects that benefit the greater community, their customers and other potential clients gain more respect for the work that they do within the office.  Implementing a recycling campaign, or supporting an Earth Day project financially, can bring more attention to the company name, and serves to build up an audience that is eager to learn more about the upcoming projects that may interest potential clients.  Reaching out to schools and doing educational programming there, for example, might not actually cost a lot in terms of effort and dollars, but it helps to build up your company name for when those students grow up and become customers at your business.

Local Campaigns with Worldwide Effects:  A Case Study

In Lithuania in 2009, a company launched a book campaign called “Unseen Lithuania,” in which for every book that was sold, a tree was planted in the Lithuanian forests.  The pictures within this fantastic coffee-table book were all lovely aerial shots of the Lithuanian countrysides, in shocking forms and beautiful combinations that made the land look beautiful and exotic.  In other words, the photography certainly made the landscape of Lithuania look like something worth treasuring.  The book sold well internationally, bringing respect for the wildlife of this small country- but what’s more, the bigger impact was made within the environment as new trees were planted, in part offsetting the impact of printing books on paper.  The idea served as a model for other campaigns and businesses to practice.

Some Project Ideas for Your Company

It doesn’t take a mission of reinventing the wheel to get involved in environmental projects:  consider partnering with local non-governmental organizations and non-profit institutes that operate in your area who might be looking for funding for upcoming green initiatives.  For a small price, your name will be able to serve as a listed sponsor of an incredible project, and your company’s image will be boosted substantially.  If you can’t make a large financial donation, consider a donation in-kind of your company’s product to boost morale among volunteers at an eco-friendly event that is taking place in your area.  It’s not just important to do something great for the environment:  it’s important to let other people know about it as well. The media will latch onto the campaigns that make a great impact, whether initiated by individuals, non-profits, or big companies.  By enlisting the help of a Public Relations team, you can design a press packet for your company that showcases the environmental work you do to give back to the local community and the greater area in which your company serves.
This is a guest post by Kate Simmons. She currently represents Common Ground a social networking community for environmental consultants and commercial real estate professionals.