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Empowering & Elevating: Building a Better World with Corporate Social Responsibility

Written by: Lauren Anderson

Welcome back to the CCP blog! If you are new here, thanks for joining us and feel free to learn more about the Canadian Courage Project here! We share blog posts on a monthly basis every 2nd Tuesday of the month, so join our mailing list for alerts.

This month we are highlighting the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and why organizations should employ CSR in their business practices and how it is mutually beneficial for corporations and the globe.




What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is defined as a business approach used to help organizations seek ways to create social and environmental change for society while also increasing revenue and maximizing value for the organization. This is usually a business model recommended to for-profit organizations, but it is a good reminder for non-profit organizations as well. Non-profits usually have social change and community-forward thinking embedded in their mission and goals, but the principles of CSR are great for everyone!


CSR has evolved over time, starting more as a concept about philanthropy, and now it encompasses societal expectations and even global challenges. Employing CSR in your organization’s everyday practice is essential for the promotion of a sustainable and equitable future for future generations. A general quote that encompasses this type of business practice is, “Do well by doing good.” The idea is that you can still grow your company and increase financial margins while empowering and elevating society at the same time.


3 Ways to Practice CSR

There are various ways organizations can practice CSR, but in this blog post we highlight three that we find all-encompassing and very important!


1. Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly Practices

Implementing eco-friendly practices and initiatives that contribute to conserving the environment and sustainability is a large aspect of CSR. There are several different ways sustainability practices can be promoted:

  • Reducing your organization's carbon footprint.

  • Reducing waste and recycling products used for operations.

  • Investing in renewable energy sources for brick-and-mortar businesses.

  • For businesses selling products, source goods from sustainable, ethical manufacturers. This includes sourcing goods from warehouses with fair labor practices.

2. Community Engagement and Social Initiatives

Community engagement is a practice often employed by organizations that have a mission centered around their local community, but this practice is important for all! Engaging with your local community can be mutually beneficial: gaining trust of your consumers and contributing positively to the well-being of community members. Organizations can do this by creating social initiatives. Some examples are:

  • Volunteer programs in partnership with local charities or schools

  • Training workshops to strengthen skills of the community workforce and can possibly encourage community members to apply for a job at your organization.

  • Partnering with local officials or nonprofits on community projects

  • Donating to local groups in need

3. Ethical Business Practices

Ethical business practices are included in a CSR approach, but they are something that is hopefully being exercised by all organizations already! To have ethical business practices means that your organization has integrity, fair labor practices, transparency between leaders and employees, diverse and inclusive recruiting, and marketing that is respectful and honest.

How We Practice CSR as a Non-Profit


1. Empowering Youth in the Community through Education

We host three different workshops for youth, and this programming is meant to inspire and promote their well-being altogether. Here are various workshops:

  • Mental Health Workshop in Partnership with jack.org

  • Mindfulness & Art Workshop

  • In-Class Career Workshop Discussing the 17 UN SDGs


2. Providing Holistic Support for Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Our mission at the Canadian Courage Project is to support youth facing homelessness, and we strive to promote the mental well-being and health of youth. We do this by using a multi-faceted approach. This approach includes educational/career workshops for youth, mindfulness workshops for youth, community engagement, and partnering with local shelters to provide resources for youth experiencing homelessness.


3. Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in our Business Practices

The CCP is committed to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace for

our employees and volunteers. As part of onboarding, we also have DEI training for

all staff members to continue education on the matter. DEI education is important to

us as we believe it is essential to actively mitigate biases, foster innovation, and

hopefully reduce discrimination that can happen in the workplace.


4. Highlighting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN

Our in-class educational workshops utilize a research-based youth-to-youth approach and resources on the 17 UN SDGs. During this workshop, students participate in a research-based quiz that pairs their personalized group of sustainable development goals with associated careers. The goal of this workshop is to empower young students to envision themselves in a career and also educate them on how they can support their community in every line of work.

Advice on Incorporating CSR in Your Business Model


We hope we can inspire you to begin or continue to incorporate CSR in your business practices. CSR requires a thoughtful and strategic approach that will lead to meaningful business practices. As you begin to implement CSR, here are a couple reminders:

  1. Consult with other organizations or experts on CSR as you get started.

  2. Understand your company’s mission and goals first before diving deeper into a CSR approach. If you want to learn more, read our blog post on starting a non-profit!

  3. Align with your core values and the values of your surrounding community.

  4. Collaborate at all levels of your organization from the executives to the interns and volunteers.

  5. Focus on innovation! Speak to community members, stakeholders, and customers and see how your organization can grow in creative ways that are beneficial to all.


We hope that you found this blog post helpful and that you consider implementing CSR in your business model. Continued education on bettering the well-being of society is a core aspect of our mission. Our goal at the CCP is to better the well-being of people facing homelessness. If you would like to join our team or support us on our mission, please contact us! Thank you for reading our blog! Feel free to leave a comment with your feedback and/or insights to help us enrich the quality of future posts and cater to the interests of our community of changemakers.


- The CCP Team


Sources

1. Harvard Business School Online. Corporate Social Responsibility Examples. Retrieved from https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/corporate-social-responsibility-examples


2. U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Corporate Social Responsibility Guide. Retrieved from https://www.uschamber.com/co/start/strategy/corporate-social-responsibility-guide


3. United Nations. Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from https://sdgs.un.org/goals


4. The Canadian Courage Project. Youth Programming. Retrieved from https://www.thecanadiancourageproject.org/youth-programming

5. Better. Corporate Social Responsibility in 2021: 6 Ways to Improve Your Company's CSR Strategy. Retrieved from https://better.net/philanthropy/corporate-social-responsibility/corporate-social-responsibility-in-2021-6-ways-to-improve-your-companys-csr-strategy/


6. The Canadian Courage Project. How to Start a Non-profit Organization. Retrieved from https://www.thecanadiancourageproject.org/post/how-to-start-a-non-profit-organization


7. Harvard Business Review. Your CSR Strategy Needs to Be Goal Driven, Achievable, and Authentic. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2021/09/your-csr-strategy-needs-to-be-goal-driven-achievable-and-authentic





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