Business Thought

Common Types of Cooperate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Developing and implementing a cooperate social responsibility plan is a growing trend among businesses. We’ve identified 10 types of CSR implemented most frequently. The following is a list of each type of CSR, along with examples of businesses currently putting them in practice.

  • Sponsoring fundraising events where profit goes to a partner nonprofit organization, company’s internal foundation, or a specific initiative. Meanwhile, company brand gets built. 
    • Questival – Cotopaxi 
    • Sweetfestival (music festival in DC put on by sweetgreens – a salad/local farmer company) 
    • Homeboy 5K – Homeboy Bakeries 
    • Chick-Fil-A/Costa Vida helping other people fundraise, for example a soccer or dance team of a local high school. (community building)
  • Partnerships with nonprofits that align with company vision.
    • Jetblue + Kaboom (building playgrounds in JetBlue destination cities)
    • Cotopaxi + International Refugee Cmte, Educate Girls, Proximity Designs (all poverty elimination)
    • Qualtrics + Utah Jazz + American Cancer Society (“5 for the Fight” Project)
  • Establish a Foundation – a 501(c)3 that typically gives outright grants, with some co-work in partnerships or directly internal initiatives. This is also where pledges usually are put into action – like the famous call from Salesforce to other companies to donate 1% of revenue, 1% of product, and 1% of employee time. 
    • jetBlue foundation (supports STEM education, especially aviation professional development, in underserved communities)
    • Life is Good Kids Foundation (supports career development for professionals that work with early childhood trauma)
    • doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation (fundraise from the thousands of wellness advocates and customers to directly fund established partners: Days for Girls, Operation Underground Railroad, etc.)
    • Cotopaxi earmarks 2% of revenue to provide targeted grants to nonprofits that have demonstrated outstanding impact, agility, and persistence. They look for grantees that execute well, have the capacity to scale, and continue to implement sustainable solutions that are generating positive results within their respective communities.
  • Transparent Reporting – a company confident they are doing good in their day to day business, so they don’t do anything *special* necessarily, but they do make sure that the world knows how they are doing it via reporting.
    • Environmental (Patagonia)
    • Labor (Nike)
    • Social causes (most B Corporations)
    • Supply chain (Cotopaxi)
  • Certification or Joining a “Movement”. In lots of areas, you can specifically certify or join an organization that declares – we’re good!
    • BCorporations. This is a fairly fast growing group of for-profit companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Cotopaxi is one.
    • Fair Trade
    • Data for Good/DataKind. These are organizations that typically partner up based on their industry (ie. exchange, SAS) or location (ie Seattle, meet ups in Calgary, Toronto) to get stuff done. 
  • Offshoot business
    • Pluralsight has adopted this model with Pluralsight One. This is an organization that is currently funded by Pluralsight, but expected to become self-sustaining and at least break even. Pluralsight is essentially the primary funder. 
  • Local Projects
    • This is especially important if a company’s brand building is needing to be mostly successful locally. For example, Cotopaxi does this well – with a global vision, but working with Refugee Card Writing and Refugee Coding Project in SLC.
  • Employee Volunteer or Matching Programs. Matching usually comes from the company foundation. 
    • GAP Matching: donations of $25 or more matched to eligible nonprofit organizations. 
    • Volunteering days are done by all types of corporations. Some try to do more sustained programs, like monthly mentoring. 
    • Just Volunteer, Just Match, Just Give. Many in this vein.
    • GIVE startup (Melissa Sevy)

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