Make corporate social responsibility a priority in 2020

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Is corporate social responsibility a business goal of yours for 2020?

In today’s socially conscious environment, customers and employees place great importance on buying from and working for organisations that prioritise corporate social responsibility.

Corporate social responsibility makes good business sense, and there are simple steps you can take to get started if the concept is new to your organisation.

What is corporate social responsibility?

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility is generally understood to mean that corporations have a degree of responsibility not only for the economic consequences of their activities, but also for the social and environmental implications.

Corporate social responsibility is always evolving, so it’s important to reconsider your initiatives each year to assess what activities are creating a positive impact for both your business and the community.

What are the benefits of corporate social responsibility?

There are many benefits of corporate social responsibility. As important as corporate social responsibility is for the community, it is equally valuable for a business.

Corporate social responsibility allows businesses to have a positive impact on the surrounding community, help create a better perception of the business and strengthen the reputation of the company, making it more desirable to employees.

Corporate social responsibility is increasingly important in attracting, retaining and engaging workers, particularly the next generation of business leaders who care about a company’s social conscience.

Another benefit of corporate social responsibility is it can boost staff morale, help forge a stronger bond between employees, and help both employees and employers feel more connected with the world around them.

All of the above assist with a company’s reputation. How a company engages with its community is now hugely important in cultivating loyalty among customers.

In a 2017 global study, 77 percent of consumers said they would choose to pay more to purchase from companies demonstrating community responsibility.

How can businesses demonstrate corporate social responsibility?

No matter the size of the organisation, adopting corporate social responsibility principles is possible. Consider the following and think about how your organisation could implement changes, big or small.

Environmental efforts

A large pile of paper waste at a recycling plant
How big is your business’s carbon footprint? There are many steps you can take to reduce your impact and improve your corporate social responsibility.

All businesses, regardless of size, have large carbon footprints. Any steps a business can take to reduce their footprint is considered good for both the company and society. Going paperless, recycling e-waste (old mobile phones, computers, tablets), ensuring food waste and recycle bins are available to staff, and installing energy-efficient lighting are a few small steps to reducing a businesses’ carbon footprint.

Ethical workplace practices

By treating employees fairly and ethically, companies can demonstrate their corporate social responsibility. This also includes promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Including people of varying age, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, languages, cultural background and abilities creates a culture of inclusion. A diverse workplace gives businesses a competitive advantage, with different perspectives, increased creativity, innovation and problem-solving.


Businesses can practice corporate social responsibility by donating money, products or services to social causes and non-profit organisations. This may also include donating a portion of the proceeds of a product to a charity, advocating for a cause, or fundraising.


3 EPIC Ambassadors stand with EPIC Volunteer Coordinator, Mandy Brydon
3 EPIC Ambassadors stand with EPIC Volunteer Coordinator, Mandy Brydon

Embracing corporate volunteerism can improve workplace culture in many ways.

Creating volunteer opportunities based on your businesses’ mission and vision encourage employees to live the businesses’ values through their actions. This could be granting employees one day a year to volunteer elsewhere or organising a group volunteer day as a team-building experience. Corporate volunteerism boosts staff morale, contributes to a positive company culture, and gives back to the community.

A commitment to support disaster relief programs

The current 2019/2020 bushfires in Australia have seen businesses large and small contributing to the disaster relief fund. Whether this be through a monetary donation, donating goods and services, or fundraising, supporting the community in a time of need creates a positive perception of the brand and/or business.

The impact of some disasters is so profound and widespread that NOT contributing to the relief fund can have a negative impact of the perception of the business.

Participating in Fairtrade

Coffee beans, ground coffee and a cup of espresso are viewed from above on a wooden table
Supporting Fairtrade is a small change that can have a big impact.

Fairtrade is about stable prices, decent working conditions and the empowerment of farmers and workers around the world. Workplaces can easily engage with Fairtrade as part of corporate social responsibility by providing Fairtrade certified tea, coffee, and hot chocolate in the workplace. This simple change can have a big impact on farmers and their families and demonstrates to both customers and employees that you support an environmentally responsible and socially just world. 

Maximising the benefits of corporate social responsibility

Customers love to support businesses and brands that actively create positive change. Employees value social responsibility and environmental sustainability and are more likely to be loyal to a business who demonstrates a corporate conscience.

Therefore, a key component of corporate social responsibility is communicating to the general public what you’re doing. If nobody knows about your businesses’ goodwill, you aren’t maximising the benefits of corporate social responsibility.

This may feel like a marketing ploy however promoting your corporate social responsibility initiatives will boost your impact and have a ripple effect across the organisation.

A positive reputation assists with:

  • protecting your business
  • attracting and retaining good staff
  • making sales
  • recovering from a crisis
  • increasing profits.

Make corporate social responsibility a priority in 2020

EPIC Ambassador t-shirt: "disability doesn't need to stand in the way of a great job."

Place an importance on diversity and inclusion in your workplace. Register your organisation for one of our professional development workshops to help your organisation build confidence in disability and equity.

Contact EPIC to find out how easy it is to hire a person with disability or mental health condition. We’ll match the right person to the role and support you and your employee for as long as required.

Express your interest in volunteering with EPIC’s ambassador program.  Your different perspective and helping hand can have a huge impact on people with disability, as well as having positive effects on your own wellbeing.

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