The biggest difference between a cost and an investment is in the return that one or the other generates for the company, and weather it supports its growth. An example of the contrast is that the coffee you have every morning is a cost, whereas publicity for the company is an investment. What about CSR? Is it a cost or an investment?
In order to respond to this question, we must analyse what is the return for a company if they spend money in Corporate Social Responsibility:
1. The image? A coherent action in CSR, well executed and well communicated, will directly impact the image of the company, showing itself as a company with values, and as coherent and responsible, and therefore bettering the perception that their audience will have of them.
2. Talent? It is a fact that the businesses involved with society and its surroundings does attract more talent and they are able to keep the talent in their team for longer. To rely on a more motivated team with talent is a crucial condition in order for any business to grow.
3. Efficiency? Many CSR actions which are related to looking after the environment (recycling, energy efficiency…) imply a saving for the business, and therefore not only do they not lead to an increase of costs, but they actually reduce them.
4. Loyalty? The client values a responsible action on the part of the business and they thank them by being loyal to their brand. To carry out activities in line with certain values and defending these values with CSR will assure more successful and long-lasting relationships between the business and their audience, relations which will be in the foundations to the growth of the business.
5. A risk reduction? The socially responsible practices in the company reduce risks in which a business could potentially face and it permits them to have more control, something which reduces the possibility that said risks become a cost for the business, affecting its growth.
CSR generates value for the company in such important areas such as image, the relationship with the customer or the staff, and also, it could lead to a cut in costs and risks which the businesses have to deal with. All of this leads us to the conclusion that, without the fear of making a mistake, CSR is an investment and not a cost for the business.
And what about you? Will you invest in CSR?