Sustainability, carbon footprint reduction, and supply chain transparency have, over the last few years, merged and morphed into what is now being called corporate social responsibility (CSR). A 2015 CSR study found that more than 80% of participating consumers take CSR into account when deciding what to buy or where to shop. While some retailers’ CSR efforts are driven largely by pressures of legislation and public opinion, others are discovering additional benefits beyond compliance, such as improved brand image, wider access to investment capital and an enhanced ability to attract the right employee talent just to name a few.
In the past, there was a widely-held belief that CSR initiatives increased companies’ costs with proving no real return on investment. Research from Intech and a study from the World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group published in the Harvard Business Review tells a different story, however. Both studies found that following CSR best practices reduces general costs, increases productivity, fosters innovation, saves resources, and increases a company’s competitive advantage.