Socially responsible business: Let ethics drive you to new success
You should be driven to success by your industry, business skills, creativity and ethics, and not conflicted by them. You can still run a profitable business and benefit society at the same time. Euge Power, solicitor at Swaab Attorneys, sets out some of the ways that a business can be socially responsible.
Are you worried your desire to do the right thing socially is practically impossible given your cut-throat industry and competitors?
If you structure your socially responsible business effectively your ethics can be the difference you need to succeed in your industry, by attracting new customers, enhancing your reputation, and attracting the best employees and new investors.
In the previous article in the Social Responsibility Series, I looked at B-Corporation certification. Here are some other examples of initiatives our clients have taken to make their businesses more socially responsible.
- Make social responsibility a priority in your constitution. Socially responsible investors will take you more seriously if you can show them you are putting your money where your mouth is. Putting your standards or minimum expectations into your constitution shows your commitment to the cause is enshrined in your business.
- Implement ethical employment policies. If you can show prospective employees that you have policies which promote and reward socially responsible behaviour, this is likely to lead to increased engagement from your workforce.
- Give a little. Be involved in something which helps you connect with people. Do it without expecting anything in return. People see the good and want to be part of it.
- Empower your employees. This can be letting employees decide how to contribute – sponsoring a cause, taking leave without pay for a humanitarian mission, employee team building by working in a soup kitchen, blood donation drives or tinned food drives. The opportunities are limitless.
- Pro bono. Usually a term affiliated with law firms, pro bono services or goods can be provided by any business. Providing your time or services free of charge is a great way to give to those who may need something which your business can provide.
- Charitable donations. Businesses can organise a workplace-giving program which allows for employees to put pre-tax dollars towards a charity chosen either by the employee or the business. Organisations like the Charities Aid Foundation Australia set up to help you implement these sort of programs to make it easy.
If you are keen to find out more about the ways you might be able to structure your business to align with ethical and social responsibilities, contact the Corporate Team at Swaab Attorneys.