In the early days of Corporate Social Responsibility, that label was generally taken to imply doing something about a company’s environmental impact. Though the more serious practitioners of CSR have long since expanded their efforts into other areas, the environment was the centerpiece of the trend. And because it was commonly thought that reducing a company’s ecological footprint was a costly matter that demanded sacrifice by shareholders, most “CSR” amounted to greenwashing. Only years later did the reality become clear: reducing waste and recycling resources actually could add to the bottom line rather than detract from it.
More recently, numerous studies have shown that companies adopting environmentally responsible policies and practices are often significantly more profitable than their competitors that don’t. Why? Because a commitment to do the right thing is often a competitive advantage in the marketplace, as customers increasingly seek out “good businesses.” Respecting the environment boosts employee morale, increasing loyalty and reducing attrition, and thus lowering recruitment and training costs. And it improves a company’s standing in the community or communities where it does business, further lowering recruitment costs because jobs at the company are valued highly.
Striving for the lowest possible environmental impact is smart business.
Paul Polak and Mal Warwick’s award-winning book, The Business Solution to Poverty, highlights 20 “takeaways” that encapsulate much of the book’s essence. Today we have featured the nineteenth of those takeaways. In a future post we’ll publish the twentieth.