The workforce is about to undergo significant changes. By 2025, 60% of employees will be millennials—a generation that places Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at the forefront of their priorities. It involves environmental stewardship, community engagement, and ethical practices.

Why should you be paying attention?

  • CSR will undoubtedly affect recruitment and retention. Millennials seek purposeful workplaces aligned with their ethical and social beliefs. If not found, they’re likely to move on.
  • CSR acts as a Talent Magnet. Gen Z and millennials prefer working for companies that contribute positively to society and the environment.
  • Retain your top talent. Employees proud of their company’s CSR initiatives are likelier to stay.

In this blog, we’re going to cover actionable steps you can take to enhance your Corporate Social Responsibility efforts around your offline branding efforts.

Need to Skim? Key Takeaways

  • The workforce is prioritizing CSR, making it crucial for companies to align with ethical and social values to attract and retain top talent, a goal we support through thoughtfully designed, sustainable brand experiences.
  • Sustainable sourcing is essential for modern brands, and we ensure your promotional products are eco-friendly and ethically sourced, helping you meet environmental expectations with high-quality merchandise.
  • Transparency in CSR initiatives builds trust with employees and customers, and we support this by providing sustainably sourced products and clear communication, reinforcing your brand’s integrity and social responsibility.

Table of Contents

  1. Analyze Your Current Strategy & Partners
  2. Partner With Vendors Who Source Sustainably
  3. Consider Donating
  4. Keep an Eye Out for Greenwashing
  5. Establish a Health & Safety Program
  6. Place Emphasis on Transparency
  7. Connect With Your Audience
  8. Publish CSR Reports
  9. Benefits of a Great CSR Strategy
  10. What isn’t CSR?
  11. Partner With a Distributor You Can Trust

1. Analyze Your Current Strategy & Partners

Take an honest look at where your brand’s strategy is at. No one gets anything perfect the first time (or the second or third, for that matter!) However, there are ways to improve.

Here’s how:

  • Don’t Reinvent the Wheel: Instead of starting from scratch, examine your competitors’ strategies. Emulate their successful tactics and navigate around their challenges.
  • Donate to Relevant Causes: You may have a sweet-tasting product. In the food industry, donating food so every child has a meal to eat at school can make a significant difference (as well as staying on-brand).
  • Build Strategic Partnerships: Try to team up with other businesses that share your values. Tackling sustainability or social responsibility is much easier when done in pairs.

How to improve corporate social responsibility? Keep doing what you are already doing well. Treat challenges as opportunities and ensure your actions align with your mission. This creates an in-sync CSR strategy.

2. Partner With Vendors Who Source Sustainably

You’re at the center of attention when you’re in charge, juggling tasks like planning strategies, setting up events, and making sure your brand shines. People expect companies to be environmentally friendly nowadays.

To meet these green expectations without overwhelming yourself, partnering with a trustworthy supplier is critical. Imagine having someone to handle all your promotional needs smoothly, from the first brainstorm to the final delivery, while supporting your company’s environmental goals. Knock-Knock – that’s where Imprint Engine comes in. Enjoy products people will use, like organic cotton clothes, solar chargers, bamboo drinkware, and reusable bags. The best part is that Imprint Engine prioritizes using sustainable materials when we create your branded goodies (we try to partner only with eco-friendly/ethically sourcing vendors).

3. Consider Donating

Donating can drive brand loyalty by showcasing a brand’s commitment to social and environmental causes. There is no better example (or anyone who does it better, for that matter) than Patagonia. Their dedication to the great outdoors is evident in their 1% of sales financial contributions to preserve and restore the natural environment.

There are many ways to serve the community—for example, natural disasters or supporting ongoing community challenges. People notice and appreciate it when you show up—customers, employees, everyone. No good deed goes unnoticed.

4. Keep an Eye Out for Greenwashing

Have you ever read a nutrition label branded as healthy until you look at the ingredient on the back? Greenwashing is like that. It essentially provides misleading or false information about a company’s environmental impact. “This is great for the planet,” but it is polluting it all the while. If you partner with the wrong vendors, you could be spreading misinformation about the sustainability of your promotional products without realizing it. Ouch.

You know what is cool? When vendors are transparent about where our products are sourced. Do a background check on those you consider partnering with – this helps you avoid greenwashing, which can harm your company’s reputation.

5. Establish a Health & Safety Program

How you treat your team matters a lot, too. Did you know 82% of people are more inclined to buy from you if they hear you’re good to your employees?

OSHA’s not just making noise; they’re onto something when they say health and safety should be at the heart of your business. Get a system for reporting issues, train your people, check up on things regularly, and sort out any dangers. You’re playing the long game, but setting up processes can create a safety net for future problems (they will come).

Remember to offer fair wages, ample time for breaks, and enough time off for rest – it’s essential for a supportive work environment.

6. Place Emphasis on Transparency

You know when you have met someone who has good character? Integrity oozes. Being upfront about what is (and isn’t) working shows an incredible amount of accountability – better yet – the desire to grow. Trust us, that’s exactly what customers and your team are after.

Big businesses have sniffed the trend—40% of the Fortune 500 companies are now showcasing their CSR initiatives on their home pages.

The ability to stay open, especially regarding sustainability efforts, can improve CSR. Stepping up to the plate makes you a leader.

7. Connect With Your Audience

How to improve corporate social responsibility? Feedback is just a click away. Use social media to understand your audience’s thoughts about your business’s CSR and sustainability efforts.

It can be as simple as typing a post or picture, waiting a day, and browsing the comment section. We recommend being responsive when people leave their opinions.

Social media is a great tool (and it’s free) to gauge audiences and adjust your CRS as needed.

8. Publish CSR Reports

The people have spoken: they want transparency. And companies are listening. By 2020, 90% of S&P 500 firms—including giants like Starbucks and UPS—began opening up their CSR practices, jumping from just 20% in 2011. A significant shift, indeed.

When is the right time for a brand to roll out its CSR reports? Timing matters:

  • When you’re launching a new initiative
  • After partnering with an eco-conscious ally
  • Whenever it feels ripe for an update

Whether you go for updates every three months or once a year, make sure they match up well with the big steps and important times in your CSR journey.

Benefits of a Great CSR Strategy

A great CSR strategy is hard work, but it is an effort that pays for itself:

  • Enhanced Brand Visibility: Your brand shines by doing good.
  • Reputation Boost: Strong CSR = better brand image.
  • Stronger Public Trust: More trust = more customers and job seekers.
  • Greater Customer Loyalty: CSR keeps customers coming back.
  • Competitive Edge: Stand out with social responsibility.
  • Higher Employee Retention: Employees stick with values-driven companies.

What isn’t CSR?

To make smart choices, it’s important to understand both what to do and what to avoid. Here’s a list to help clarify what Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not, by pointing out common mistakes brands make.

  • Greenwashing: Make real changes, not just claims.
  • Token Gestures: Choose big, meaningful actions.
  • Ignoring Stakeholder Concerns: Listen and act on feedback.
  • Lack of Transparency: Be open about your actions.
  • Ethical Violations: Always act ethically.
  • Short-Term Thinking: Think about the long-term.
  • Siloed Approaches: Make CSR part of your main strategy.
  • Inconsistent Actions: Match what you say with what you do.

Partner With a Distributor You Can Trust

Leaders have diverse responsibilities, including managing employees, maintaining brand image, and driving CSR initiatives. At Imprint Engine, we prioritize ethical practices and environmental protection by carefully selecting suppliers who share our values. Our sustainable and ethically sourced promotional materials meet stakeholder expectations and support your CSR efforts effortlessly. With high-quality, exceptional merchandise, we ensure your brand’s positive impact resonates. Sounds great! Let’s connect.