In yesterday’s world, corporations focused on maximizing shareholder value. Nowadays, however, they need to balance the narrow demands of a few shareholders with the broader demands of all stakeholders. In practice, that means corporations need to develop a social procurement strategy to guide their vision. Let’s take a look at five ways to do it.
Know your “why”
What’s the purpose of your company? It’s a simple yet powerful question that requires a lot of consideration and clarification. Once your company settles on a central mission, it’s imperative to share that guiding purpose with investors, employees, customers, and other relevant stakeholders.
Once this purpose is firmly in place, you can move on to making it a reality by finding strategic areas to develop. For some companies, this may mean poverty reduction or gender equality. For others, climate action and responsible consumption are more relevant. Whatever the specific area you choose to focus on, it’s important to consider where your company can make the biggest difference.
Donations are a great way to show you care. However, writing a check to a random charity isn’t the best way to go about it. When considering what charities and organizations to donate to, it’s important to find ones that are a good fit for your company.
A donation is about more than a lump sum of money. It’s about the message behind the money, so ensure that message reflects your company values. For example, a clothing company might donate to worthwhile causes surrounding the town’s manufacturing plants. This shows you care for the local community and its employees.
Foster an inclusive workplace
A big part of being a socially responsible enterprise is taking care of your employees. That starts with an inclusive workplace that celebrates its diversity rather than seeking to stamp it out. Of course, diverse workplaces often need support to come to full fruition.
Consider empowering management with diversity and inclusion training, and host small group discussions to get a feel for the general sentiments within your existing workforce. Develop supportive policies and procedures for everything from breaks to hiring. And ensure your employees have proper physical and mental health support, so they aren’t stressed or burnt out.
Set measurable goals
It’s essential to be as precise as possible when designing your goals, as this is the best way to ensure your company is accountable to all stakeholders. Vague goals bring vague results, so tap into your company’s “why” to develop relevant aims.
Outline short and long-term goals, and develop metrics for tracking them. These metrics can range from employee diversity and carbon emissions to volunteer hours and business growth. Whatever the metrics, compare them with other businesses in the same space to see where your company stands. After that, spread the results honestly.
Customers are highly sensitive to “greenwashing” and are bound to lose respect for companies that practice it. The simplest way to avoid greenwashing is to be honest about where your company is at the moment. If you can’t guarantee a certain level of eco-friendly material, then don’t advertise it.
If you’re working toward that goal, however, then reflect your progress through truthful advertising. Overselling your achievements without backing them up can lead to a customer boycott, so it’s better to be modest in the way you position yourself.
Keep these five tips in mind to ensure your enterprise stays socially responsible in 2023.