The 4 Core Platforms of CSR & How They Elevate Your Business

From massive fundraising efforts to charity 5Ks to local volunteer work, companies are finding ways to give back to their communities in meaningful ways. When a business operates in an ethical and sustainable way and deals with its environmental and social impacts, it is actively practicing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). 

Businesses not only sell goods and services but use their brand’s efforts to impact their communities. That’s the core of Corporate Social Responsibility. You want to make sure you’re choosing a CSR style that bolsters your business and improves your brand’s reputation and overall impact. Here are the four types of CSR and how they can apply to your brand:

Community support through philanthropy

Philanthropic initiatives include donations of money, time, or even resources to charities and local, national, or international organizations. Typically these donations are directed to worthy causes such as national disaster relief, education programs and human rights. This isn’t limited to large corporations with millions of dollars to spend; even restaurants can sponsor a fundraiser to share proceeds to a local school or nonprofit organization. Great examples of philanthropic initiatives in corporations are Patagonia donating $10 million to environmental groups to raise awareness of climate change and ExxonMobil employees and retirees donating $43 million through their matching gift and employee-giving programs. Using this method of CSR effectively can show your target audience that you demonstrate both a responsible use of the funds you receive and can increase customers’ interest and favorable opinions of your company.

Opportunity to conserve environmental resources

As awareness of environmental issues grows, businesses should increasingly show their efforts to reduce air, water and land pollution. This increases a businesses standing as good corporate citizens and can benefit society as a whole. Typically businesses focus on limiting pollution or reducing greenhouse gases — both issues that severely affect our society. For example, General Mills pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 28% by 2025. This CSR style offers an array of opportunities for businesses to set up recycling programs, using environmentally friendly products, etc. and can cause increased interest in your business.

Responsibility in economic investment

Showing consumers that your brand is both ethically and economically responsible will not only improve your business but also demonstrate your dedication to humanitarian practices. Economic responsibility focuses on facilitating the long-term growth of your business while also setting the standards for ethical, environmental, and philanthropic practices. An example of this is using a new manufacturing process to minimize waste which benefits the company by lowering the cost of materials and benefits society because of the use of fewer resources.

Implementing CSR strategies can elevate your business and show your community that you care but this is effective only if it’s done for the right reasons. As a brand, you must take ownership of a cause that you not only believe in but one that aligns with what your consumer base is actively fighting for. Companies like Lush who align with ethical sourcing and anti-animal cruelty and Walt Disney World who delivered its extra food to local food banks in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, are companies that are effectively sharing their CSR platforms in an authentic, appropriate way.   

Equality created by ethical business practices

It’s so important to show your consumers that you’re providing fair labor practices to your business employees and suppliers. Showing your consumer that you care about your employees and that you’re willing to give them the benefits they deserve will attract more consumers. This can be done by providing equal pay for equal work and living wage compensation initiatives. One company proving their ethical practices successfully is Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, which use Fairtrade Certified ingredients — sourced from small-scale farmers and farming co-ops in developing nations — like sugar, cocoa, and vanilla. Basically, the codes of values and principles that you choose to set in place for your business can have an effect on how consumers think of you and your company as a whole and analyze what values and beliefs you have.

At Appleton, we believe in the value of corporate social responsibility so much that we created our own standards — CORE. These values break down to:

  • Community
  • Opportunity
  • Responsibility
  • Equality

The four types of CSR can even be paired with each of these CORE values. Your brand values are more than moments of “do-gooding.” They’re the result of institutional passions that relate to your brand, your audience, your employees and your community. Everything that makes up Appleton’s CORE sparks joy around our office and serves our community. If you don’t know where to get started with CSR, give us a call! We’d love to help.

Appleton Creative is an award-winning, full-service public relation and digital marketing agency located in Orlando, Florida. We work with local, national and international clients to engage, inform and persuade target audiences of all types and sizes. Through strategic planning, media advisories, press releases, events and reputation management, Appleton can publicize and manage your company’s products, events and achievements. Your PR goals are worth a conversation: contact us at 407-246-0092 or

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