Inspiring Examples of Corporate Social Responsibility at Work

In this episode, we discuss major brands implementing successful corporate social responsibility programs and what you can learn from them. 

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Karl Yeh:

So today I'm joined by Nicole Campbell, CSR expert, and we're going to talk about what are some examples of successful CSR programs?

So, Nicole, can you give me a couple of examples of brands that are successfully executing CSR in their organizations and what actually makes them a success?

Nicole Campbell:

I love this question.

So we work with so [00:01:00] many different clients, all sizes, locations, industries, and we hear a lot of really great stories about what different companies are doing.

And I think that the ones that [inaudible 00:01:14] best are the ones that really take a holistic and integrated approach to the work they're doing.

Example: Levi’s

So as an example, Levi's is a client of ours and they heard from their [00:01:30] employees from town halls and company meetings that a large group of them were being very much impacted by gun violence and gun carrying locations in the states.

And in the past, talking about gun violence would have been a huge taboo in the CR world. This is just something that companies did not do.

But they listened to one of their most important stakeholders, their employees, and they took this to their CEO. He [00:02:00] got behind this cause.

And they said, okay, we need to do something about this.

We're going to make a stand against gun violence.

So in that year, they launched a million dollar grant making funds, so corporate philanthropy, if we're talking about all of these various aspects of CR.

They offered matching gifts to their employees to be able to donate their own funds and match those dollars to those organizations that were anti gun violence.

They allowed their people five hours a month to get politically active behind [00:02:30] that cause and reward them for their time doing that.

It created incredible organic communications.

And in the following year, they saw a huge spike in revenue that they're attributing to the CR corporate responsibility efforts that they put in, which were completely integrated.

They brought their employees in the mix.

They allowed people to give back in various ways, in addition to putting their money where their mouth is by doing the $1 million grant to the organization. [00:03:00]

And they helped the communities, they made their people happy and they did well. Their business benefited, too.

So that, to me, is a perfect example of a triple bottom line.

Everyone's happy and is super holistic.

Karl Yeh:

So do you know how they actually started to ... how that program actually started?

Nicole Campbell:

Yeah, just from [00:03:30] listening to the people.

So they brought it back to the CEO and then their philanthropy, or their CSR team, took it on and turned it into a campaign. So that's a big part of why it worked.

Often, we miss talking to our important stakeholders who are going ... our people, our employees, who are the biggest brand ambassadors and champions for this work.

So if you listen to what they care about, they bring it up to the top, you get behind it and support it in a meaningful way, all of a sudden you're doing something [00:04:00] that's solving for many and it's truly authentic.

That was what was so beautiful about this campaign.

Karl Yeh:

So Nicole, can you give me another example of an organization that has an access successful CSR program?

More around diversity equity inclusion, because I know that's a big topic around the world right now.

Nicole Campbell:

There's a lot of companies doing great work in this area, and many of them are using our mission's technology, which allows employees to [00:04:30] engage in actions that are not just giving and volunteering.

It's educating them on the DE&I issues and things like that.

Example: Benevity

Setting that aside, at Benevity, we actually do it really well.

We are a company that talks a lot about these issues.

We even have round tables on a monthly with various affinity groups talking about women in the workplace, Black Lives Matter.

It's a lot [00:05:00] of education, a lot of discussion and really open forum settings, which is really great.

Nicole Campbell:

And then on top of that, we're seeing our CEO put essentially his money where his mouth is, too.

So he has personally, on several occasions, taken his own cash, not even corporate cash, and put towards not for profits supporting women, getting them off their feet, in business positions and things like that, [00:05:30] that is used for us as employees to match.

So he'll match up to X amount of money towards these causes.

So it's showing his true commitment and authentic support to these causes, and then allowing us to engage alongside with him. So it's a great message to the community that we live and operate in.

And it shows us that he truly cares about the issues that we also care about, too. That's a perfect example of [00:06:00] a more integrated CR.

Karl Yeh:

And that's something obviously we would expect from Benevity, right?

There is one more.

And again, this is more a personal thing because I'm really curious about ... can you provide examples of a company doing another successful CSR program, more on the supply chain side?

Would you know examples of that?

Nicole Campbell:

Example: CVS

Oh, my gosh. So CVS Pharmacy in the United States, [00:06:30] a pharmacy is known as an organization that's set towards health, right?

And so their leadership was thinking about, okay, so if this is who we stand for and cigarettes are a real issue for cardiovascular vascular health, let's stop selling cigarettes?

Which was a huge revenue piece for them. So they were a little bit afraid of how that was going to affect their bottom line. But once they stood behind that cause, guess what?

Their revenues increased. [00:07:00] People were so impressed of them going behind such a controversial issue, so kudos to them too.

Karl Yeh:

So Nicole, can you give me other examples of successful CSR programs?

Example Nike

Nicole Campbell:

Yeah. From a DNI perspective, Nike in [00:07:30] a time, pre-George Floyd, when brands weren't standing up for racial injustice, yet Nike did. And people in pundits said it would hurt Nike, but they've seen higher North American sales growth and a better brand image since the campaign. So, that was a pretty cool one.

Example: Lyft

Lyft, so in response to Trump's travel ban, they pledged one million to the ACLU, and they released a public state statement saying that they firmly stood against Trump's actions, [00:08:00] because they threatened the values of the community.

And since then, their profits have gone up, which is really, really cool.

Nicole Campbell:

And then lastly, CVS. So they stopped selling cigarettes, which was a pretty bold move considering they estimated that they made two billion a year from tobacco sales.

But the CEO said it was at odds with their mission to put people on a path to better health.

And since making that decision, their annual revenues have climbed steadily.

So it just goes to show you, [00:08:30] when these things come from the top and these brands that take a stand, they can help communities, but also help their business too by just getting behind what's right.

Karl Yeh:

What's really interesting about this is that you hear a lot of companies talk about their mission and their values. Right?

But it's a lot of talking, but a very few actually walk the walk. And these are great of companies that are actually walking the walk.

Nicole Campbell:

Yeah. They're amazing. [00:09:00] It's very inspiring.

Karl Yeh:

So if you want to learn how to develop a CSR program from scratch, you're going to check out this playlist here, as well as this playlist on other tips and strategies on developing a CSR program. Thanks for watching. And we'll see you on our next video.



Question for you

So remember, if you were getting value from this video, make sure to hit the like button. And the question of the day I have for you is, what other examples of successful CSR programs have you seen from other businesses? Let us know in the comment section below.


About Nicole Campbell:

Nicole’s passion for behavioral science plays a key role in her ability to help organizations manage and adapt to change. 

Nicole has worked with companies of all sizes, industries, program varieties, and varying levels of executive support — and has had a hand in designing or growing Social Impact programs for some of the biggest brands out there. Her role, working with so many different companies, has provided her with a wealth of experience, data and anecdotes that have shaped a strong understanding of what works, what doesn’t and what’s next.