Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plans are increasingly present in companies, which have increased their commitment to society and the environment. In fact, as stated in the ‘Report 20 years of CSR / Sustainability in Spanish companies: evolution and trends’ of Merco and DIRSE, the ‘ethics and CSR / S’ dimension has become an essential strength in the productive fabric, which has increased its weight from 5% in 2001 to 14% in 2020.
In addition, the pandemic has driven the commitment to CSR, as was evident at the beginning of the health crisis, when there was a wave of solidarity boosted by a tide of entities that made continuous donations of protective material (masks, gowns , EPI, screens, hydroalcoholic gels …) to hospitals, nursing homes and security forces, and also from fresh and non-perishable products to food banks to be distributed among the most needy families.
Even so, CSR includes more measures that support a sustainable economic model, such as those aimed at decent employment, equality and diversity; commitment to society, the environment and human rights, and the fight against fraud, among others. These causes match the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out in the 2030 Agenda.
Experts advise directing actions towards the brands themselves and not so much towards the products
Active and voluntary commitment to sustainability means contributing in an outstanding way to the development of the environment, people and the planet. Brands are rapidly implementing programs in line with this trend in the image of their products and services, to give them a more personal, social and environmental value.
Consumers ask for it
Facts and not marketing that ends on paper. Consumers, increasingly aware, prefer to buy products from companies that profess ethical behavior. As they seek concrete and real actions, through their purchases they cast a vote in favor of a socially responsible lifestyle. Faced with this scenario, organizations have adapted their philosophies and production processes to respond with ethics, authenticity and integrity to the needs of the environment that surrounds them, because CSR is a continuous dialogue with reality and its time and not a simple tool for gain reputation or wash the image. Likewise, social and environmental commitment has emerged as an element that reinforces competitiveness and brand value.
Clients reward those companies that have CSR, which highlights the importance of publicizing the actions that each organization does. It is about differentiating yourself and, at the same time, gaining reputation. Experts advise orienting marketing towards the brand and not towards the product because it is more affordable, since promotion by product is ephemeral.
According to a study carried out in Spain by SAP and Qualtrics, social interest in knowing the sustainability practices of brands influences the purchase decision. 46% of consumers say they would choose a food brand that is distinguished for being sustainable and 48% recognize that the supply of sustainable food is very important. Precisely, six out of ten customers would like to know the carbon footprint of these brands and 18% say they already do.
In the fashion industry, 40% of consumers understand sustainability as a very important factor and 84% sometimes or frequently check the origin of the raw materials of the products they buy. In the automotive world, 52% of users take into account the manufacturer’s emissions when making the decision to buy a vehicle, followed by 47% who value the sustainable origin of the materials and 45% the recycling of the components at the end of the vehicle’s useful life.
The price, depending on the sector, can be a disadvantage when purchasing sustainable products. In the case of food, 66% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for green food, as long as the price difference is marginal. The same happens when buying the greenest option for a car: 65% would be willing and 80% take into account the environmental impact of the services. This low perception with respect to public services, where 53% mention money as a dissuasive factor in hiring suppliers with sustainable practices, although 23% point out the lack of knowledge. The level of income generates distances in this section, since clients with the lowest level are more reluctant to pay more for sustainable public services than those with the highest income, that is, 18% compared to 21%, respectively.
Companies are also aware that a motivated employee is a more productive worker, which is why they are committed to applying measures aimed in this direction. Precisely, it is estimated that each euro invested in the welfare of the workforce is money that results in an improvement in the profitability of the business itself.
In this sense, companies have programs to improve the well-being of the human team, through training courses, health, languages, awareness of equality, diversity and prevention of harassment …, which has an impact on an increase in the sense of belonging to the same organization