This week, as companies begin to mobilize to help the victims of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, the topic of corporate social responsiblity will be top of mind. It’s not surprising that in an industry where guest experience and customer service are touch points, wider socially responsible practices have become integral. What may have developed out of consumer pressure or even regulatory issues has now become standard practice, with roughly 2,300 hotels listed on EnvironmentallyFriendlyHotels.com and approximately 650 restaurants partnering with the Green Restaurant Association. Companies are re-examining their impact on society and moving beyond providing simple charitable donations to embracing more holistic corporate social responsibility programs.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) refers to the adoption of policies and practices that are environmentally sound, socially responsible, and ethical. Corporate programs can range from community development and investment initiatives like Sun City in the North West Province of South Africa, to simply committing to green practices, such as hotels who are members of the The Green Hotels Association do.
For example, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants has implemented a program with local, national, and global components. On a community level Kimpton Cares works with local non-profit organizations in support of hunger initiatives, education, art, and even neighborhood beautification. On a national level the group supports organizations such as Dress for Success and hosts nation-wide Red Ribbon campaigns to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. On a global level, partnerships with The Nature Conservancy and Trust for Public Land promote environmental conscientiousness. We’ll no doubt see many valiant efforts in the coming weeks related specifically to the crisis in Japan; those companies with experience and programs already in place will more readily be able to lend support in an organized way.
But can the regular corporate responsibility and environmentally friendly efforts that companies make improve their bottom lines? That may be difficult to quantify completely, but according to Business Link, these programs can greatly benefit companies when comprehensively implemented. CSR initiatives can strengthen the reputation of an organization, foster good relationships within the surrounding community, create opportunities for positive press, promote research and development, and overall offer a competitive edge. Employees have also been found to better identify with an ethical corporate culture where concerns for well-being and welfare extend beyond the generation of revenue, which makes both recruiting and retaining workers easier.
CSR is also a great marketing tool, particularly in a time period where green is an ethos more than a color. Consumers are concerned with lessening their carbon foot prints and they tend to respond positively when socially responsible companies appeal to their values. Last year the ImagePower Green Brands study revealed that 75% of consumers in the US seek out brands that are produced by green companies. Brands identified in the study included Burt’s Bees, Whole Foods Market, and Tom’s of Maine. Both Google and Microsoft also made the top 10 list. True, these efforts don’t always translate into dollars on the part of companies, but the long-term benefits of CSR are certainly part of the consideration.
Coyle Hospitality’s Coyle Cares program seeks to make a meaningful impact within local and global communities. Its first partner was the Strong Kids Program for children with special needs at Camp Combe in Putnam Valley, NY. For more information about how to participate in Coyle Cares, click here. For more information about Coyle’s quality assurance and mystery shopping programs, contact us.