Millennials don’t just expect companies to give them good products and services. They also expect companies to be more socially conscious. It doesn’t matter how big or small an enterprise is; without corporate social responsibility (CSR), they’re as good as turning a blind eye toward social issues.
Other than the moral factor, CSR also allows companies to create a healthier working environment. It makes them develop dynamic ideologies that attract outstanding talent. The best job candidates are likely to choose a company that actively participates in their community, and uses its resources to help.
However, there’s one thing holding companies back from being socially conscious: becoming too political. Businesses don’t want to come off as politically biased, because it may affect their relationship with their audience. While it’s good for them to show their support toward ending global problems, it shouldn’t come at the cost of losing their audience’s trust.
But on the flip side, political neutrality also has consequences. Not taking a stand is a stand in itself. So how can your small business carry out its CSR then?
Your small business can address any of these major social issues to start:
As of 2020, the global unemployment rate is 5.42%. It may seem small, but when you break it down to the unemployment rates in each country, the numbers can be staggering. A lack of economic opportunity and unemployment is actually voted by millennials as one of the biggest global problems.
Your small business can address this issue by hiring individuals. If you can’t afford to pay salaries yet, you may help fund educational programs instead. Since unemployment is partly caused by insufficient education, sending people to school will improve their economic opportunities.
If you create products, consider buying your raw materials from local manufacturers. It will support their livelihood and improve their welfare.
2. Safety, Security, and Well-being
Considering the persistence of discrimination and other inclusivity issues in some countries, it’s understandable why women and minority groups face problems with their safety, security, and well-being. Your small business can tackle this issue by having a positive company culture.
A positive company culture is one that encourages unity, loyalty, gratitude, high morale, and minimal stress. You should also diversify your team so that you can enlighten them on different cultural backgrounds. Consider starting impact projects as well, like community services, to support other oppressed groups.
3. Unstable Food and Water Sources
Despite today’s technology, many countries still fail to have food and water security. Your small business can help mitigate this issue by partnering with food corporations committed to feeding the poor. You can help fund their research, or develop a product yourself that supplies essential nutrients to a malnourished person. Gain inspiration from Grameen Danone Foods, a Bangladeshi joint-venture that brought healthy nutrition to the poor. They developed a fortified yogurt, the profits from which they used to grow a social business.
Poverty coexists with poor education and insufficient economic opportunities. As such, your small business can create jobs, fund educational programs, or teach members of a community how to make handmade crafts that they can sell. Bust the myth that only the wealthy can become entrepreneurs. Offer mentorship to people in need, so that they’d realize their capabilities and turn them into profit.
5. Climate Change
Millennials voted climate change as the world’s biggest problem. Thankfully, many businesses are already exerting efforts to reduce their carbon footprints. Consumers are increasingly becoming more environmentally aware, too.
Your small business can fight climate change in numerous ways. You can conserve water and energy, eliminate single-use plastics, practice the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, and recycle), and promote cleaner transportation. Consider minimizing the packaging on your products, and donating part of your proceeds to an environmental research organization, too.
Becoming Socially Conscious Without Sounding Too Political
Social media is the platform you’ll surely use to promote your CSR. But social media can be a chaotic place, with its users fighting because of their clashing opinions. Your small business might be vulnerable to aggressive users because it can only take one hateful comment from an opposing party to ruin your reputation.
To ensure that your stand on social issues won’t offend anyone, enlist a professional in social media management. They will help you produce quality content that raises awareness while encouraging respect. They’ll also aid you in getting to know your audience so that you can find the right company or organization to partner with.
Most importantly, be transparent about the social issues you’re supporting. Don’t let a few displeased people weaken your voice. At the end of the day, no matter how careful you are, you cannot please everyone. So, focus on helping and promoting kindness.