More companies than ever before are engaged in serious efforts to define and integrate social responsibility into all aspects of their business. Social responsibility can provide important benefits, including these, described by BSR:
- Improved financial performance: Studies suggest a correlation between socially responsible business practices and positive financial performance. One study showed that the stock prices of financially underperforming companies improved when they implemented corporate governance reforms.
- Increased ability to attract and retain employees: Companies that have a strong commitment to social responsibility often find it easier to recruit and retain talented and diverse employees. BSR studies show that employees are more likely to recommend an employer that is socially responsible, even in difficult labor markets. More than half the respondents in one survey indicated they would seek another job if they found that their values conflicted with those of their employer.
- Reduced operating costs: Initiatives aimed at improving environmental performance also can result in lower costs through more efficient use of energy, less use of materials, and lower disposal costs.
- Reduced regulatory oversight: Federal and state agencies that oversee environmental and workplace regulations have formal programs that recognize and reward companies that have taken proactive measures to reduce adverse environmental, health, and safety effects. U.S. federal sentencing guidelines allow penalties and fines against corporations to be reduced or even eliminated if a company can show it has taken actions to improve its performance.
- Enhanced brand image and reputation: Clients and job applicants often are drawn to brands and companies with socially responsible reputations.
- Increased client loyalty: Companies can build trust and a loyal client base through actions that increase client satisfaction and add to shareholder value. Studies show more consumers make purchase decisions based on factors other than price and quality. Companies that engage their stakeholders are better able to understand the needs of existing and potential clients.
- Increased productivity and quality: Company efforts to improve working conditions or increase employee involvement in decision-making often lead to high employee morale, increased productivity and a reduced error rate.
- Greater innovation: Contributions from people of diverse experiences and perspectives allow companies to improve innovation by generating new ideas and highlighting emerging issues.