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  • A Guide to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

    The workforce is about to go through a major shift. As more baby boomers retire, millennials will make up a larger portion of the employees – approximately 75% of workers by 2025. These workers have a different approach to choosing an employer.

    According to a 2016 survey from Cone Communications,

    • 76% want to know how a company is committed to social and environmental causes before accepting a job
    • 64% won’t work for a company if it doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices
    • 88% find jobs that allow them to contribute to CSR issues more fulfilling

    Other surveys show similar results. Millennials want to be proud of where they work, and one important way to attract this cohort is through CSR initiatives.

    What is CSR? / What Does CSR Mean?

    According to the United Nations, CSR is how companies follow a “triple-bottom-line-approach” and use their businesses to pursue social and environmental concerns while still delivering shareholder value. It is different from a firm’s philanthropy efforts.

    Although giving money to support important issues can be helpful, CSR goes beyond this to build sustainable business practices that consider:

    • Environmental impact
    • Responsible sourcing
    • Community relations and engagement
    • Corporate citizenship
    • Inclusion
    • Gender balance
    • Human rights
    • Governance
    • Labor practices
    • Anti-corruption

    Companies are taking note. More than 80% of S&P 500 companies – a benchmark of the largest 500 publicly traded companies in the US by market capitalization – are participating in CSR reporting.

    How Do Philadelphia Companies Prioritize CSR?

    There are many ways to assess a company’s progress on CSR initiatives, but B Lab’s “Best for the World” report is a good place to start. The non-profit behind the B Corp certification creates an annual list of the top 10 percent of all Certified B Corps across a variety of measures.

    Many Philadelphia-area companies have shown up on the list in recent years, including:

    Many other Philly companies also value CSR, even if they haven’t pursued or achieved B Corps Certification. Some of these companies include:

    How Can You Work in CSR?

    Depending on your skill set, you could work for a firm with strong CSR practices or work in a specific CSR department. CSR departments need a range of talent from those who can develop and implement sustainability practices to those who are fluent in reporting, analysis and marketing. Payscale estimates the average CSR salary for a CSR manager is around $80,000 a year, although this number will vary widely by firm and location.

    To focus on the company first, you can check out the directories of B Corps and benefit corporations. Even if these firms don’t have a specific CSR job available, you could work with them knowing you’re supporting the overall firm commitment to making a positive impact on the world.

    There are also numerous job boards where you can find sustainability-focused jobs such as:

    The Need for CSR

    CSR has evolved from buzzword to tangible business practices. It seems inevitable that more companies will move in this direction, especially as their future employees demand it.

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    Julie Hancher

    About Julie Hancher

    Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake.

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