The ROI of CSR: It’s Surprisingly Good

While you may not think about it, every aspect of business has an eye on potential ROI, even if it seems as though the decision won’t help the business in a financial way. To that end, even actions like corporate social responsibility (CSR) are often thought of in terms of both how it will make the company seem in the eyes of others, as well as how engaging in CSR can impact the bottom line in a positive way. While it may seem cynical, this isn’t the case. Just because corporate social responsibility can help the bottom line doesn’t mean that it’s a cynical and manipulative attempt to sway public opinion about big business. If anything, CSR should be looked at as a way to prove just how much good big business can do for the community when it puts its mind to it.4366618513_44ba058c98_z

Along with the good faith that comes from CSR, there is definitely a monetary aspect at play as well. When you look at the ROI of CSR for certain companies, you can definitely see that it pays both monetarily and in goodwill to place conservationism, sustainability, and the human element high up on the totem pole of what is important to your company. Consumers like it when companies not only stand for something noble, but actively act on that stance in a tangible way that has real results on the ground and in the local community. This not only leads to an increase in positive public sentiment towards the company, but it can also directly translate to increased sales and profit.

Just how related are the increase in profit with a strong, positive CSR message? Well, IBM’s Corporate Service Corps generates 300% ROI and also works to help companies in developing countries grow and become more profitable. The Corporate Service Corps works by allowing IBM employees to share their knowledge and expertise with companies in developing countries. Not only does this show goodwill and work towards actively improving the world we live in, but it also reinforces ties between these smaller companies and IBM. When the company is up and running and looking for technology to purchase, you can be guaranteed they will remember the help that IBM gave them and look to them first. Not only that, but CSR helps keep employees happy and believing in the company culture. This is the best way to keep these employees around and motivated to work their hardest. While some may see CSR as self-serving, just remember there’s nothing wrong with helping yourself as you help other people at the same time.

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Written by

Dave Pflieger is currently the CEO of Island Air and previously the President and CEO of Silver Airways. Previously, Dave Pflieger was the CEO & Managing Director of Air Pacific (later Fiji Airways). Before joining Air Pacific, Mr. Pflieger was a Founding Officer and Senior Vice President at Virgin America from 2004 to 2010.