Examples of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for 2023

Examples of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can be found on many company websites. For small businesses, it can be difficult to see the benefit of sharing information about corporate social investment. Helping small business owners use their impact to grow their businesses is as easy as following these examples. Three corporate social responsibility programs to watch in 2023 are Lather, Girlfriend Collective, and Kong Dog Toys. 

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My Favorite Social Business Examples

As a consumer, I try to buy from businesses that demonstrate similar values to mine. Sustainability and impact are important things I look for when choosing products and services. 

If you’re looking for examples of how a business can make an impact, this article is exactly what you need to get inspired. The businesses on this list are great examples of demonstrating impact through marketing and online content.

4 Ways Businesses Make An Impact

My framework for making an impact is DPTD- Dollars, People, Time, and Donations help businesses and nonprofits make an impact. DPTD is the way that we can all give back to the community and causes we care most about. 

Dollars-

This is one of the most common forms of giving.  Many social businesses give money to causes they support. Sometimes small businesses give money as corporate sponsors without calling themselves a social business or using their impact to create more business. Securing corporate sponsorships help nonprofit and community organizations working on changing the world. 

People-

Small business owners can supply volunteers for nonprofits. Volunteers help complete important projects. Volunteering with community organizations also shows support to local causes that need in-person manpower.

Time-

Businesses that offer time as a corporate social responsibility activity might give “pro-bono services” or other professional services to charity organizations for free or at a reduced rate. This is a form of donating time to help another organization or founder achieve its mission by leveraging your professional experience. 

Donations-

Donations are an important part of giving because there are so many things that a business can donate. Beyond services and time, giving tangible goods is a great way for a business to show corporate social responsibility. 

Examples of Corporate Social Responsible Companies

Large corporations have CSR programs with many initiatives and verticals. Small businesses can start small and grow their impact over time with strategic decisions. These three examples show how a business can grow its impact mission along with its business. 

Lather

Lather has been one of my favorite brands since I discovered their store in 2016. I was hooked as soon as I started using their line of skincare products. I went from one product to at least 10 on my bathroom shelf and I actually used them all! 

Lather’s website shares more about how the products are made: “We prioritize vegan and gluten-free ingredients and use zero synthetic fragrance. We are proud to take our cues from nature, collecting locally sourced, special ingredients from across the globe.”

This was one of the big draws for me as a consumer. I appreciate their commitment to high-quality ingredients that are locally sourced across the globe. The packaging materials are also consciously made and recyclable: 

“For years, LATHER has worked to reduce our environmental footprint through initiating in-store recycling programs, using renewable resources and offsetting our carbon emissions. Going one step further, we have begun transitioning all of our packagings — from bottles to tubes to jars — to plastic made with EcoPure, an FDA compliant, organic compound added in small amounts to traditional plastic.”

Lather as a Social Business Example

There are many ways that businesses complement their mission for a profit with a social impact mission. Lather is a good example of how a business can incorporate sustainability into its business model and make an impact at the same time. 

By switching their packaging and focusing on sourcing ingredients Lather shows us how a business can promote sustainability and quality products at the same time. On top of that impact, you’ll notice the products are made with women of color in mind as well. The imagery on their website shows women of color and their products also benefit different skin types and shades. 

One of the other values I appreciate about both Lather and the Girlfriend Collective is transparency. Both these brands share information about the ingredients or raw materials that make their products. This helps build trust with consumers and gives agency to customers who want to know exactly what is in the products they use.

Girlfriend Collective 

The Girlfriend Collective is one of my new favorite online finds. This brand is really cool and I’m excited to order some cool clothing at a discounted price while I also help save the planet from our plastic waste. 

The Girlfriend Collective takes sustainability to a new level as a certified (insert certifications) manufacturer. Their clothing turns used BPA-free plastic into clothing with a sustainability focus. 

“Our factory is SA8000 certified (view our certification here). This certification promises that our operation adheres to those super strict regulations that keep factory employees well-paid, safe, and living healthy lives.

Our recycled fabric is certified Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex, the world’s leader in testing fabrics to regulate harmful substances. They make sure every fabric’s origin and contents are totally upfront, so you know exactly what you’re putting on your body. See our certifications here.”

The Girlfriend Collective Weaves Impact & Profit

The packaging is 100% recyclable and the Girlfriend Collective works with local partners and community organizations that engage in recycling and waste reduction in Asian countries like Vietnam and Taiwan. 

“Taiwan, where we source all of our post-consumer water bottles, once struggled to clean up mass amounts of waste resulting from rising living standards and soaring consumption. A small island nation of 23 million people, the government saw the danger of ignoring the problem, and through widespread change has transformed Taiwan into a world leader in recycling, with 55% of waste being recycled (as opposed to 35% in the US).

Recycling is a community affair in Taiwan. Each night people gather to sort their waste into containers as a community — recyclables, food waste, and garbage. Rather than leave, they stay and talk until the trucks come and pick it up, turning what could be a tedious affair into a connective one.”

One reason I’m really excited to try the Girlfriend Collective’s clothing is because of the models! They do an excellent job showing different body types, races/ethnicities, and have products for women with curves! On top of the transparency and sustainability, their impact also extends to the women who wear their clothing. 

Check out their website to learn more about how they have created a company based on environmental impact. Small businesses can learn a lot from their example! Looking at solutions that involve the community and meet accreditation standards are high standards for impact. 

Kong Dog Toys

Kong creates dog toys that are nearly indestructible and donates the ones that are slightly imperfect to shelter animals. This is a great example of a business that is making an impact by donating products directly to animals in need. 

Shelters spend lots of money to house, feed, and keep animals healthy. As a mom of a rescue dog, I understand how important it is to give rescue dogs comfort items that will help them adjust to being in their forever homes. Kong’s toy donations and support of shelters help animals take a step toward their new life. 

“We have limited quantities of slightly imperfect KONG toys (Seconds) available at a discounted rate for 501c3 pet-related organizations. If you would like to become a KONG Cares Shelter, please complete the form below to get access to these toys.”

Kong shares information about featured shelters on its website and has clear forms that are easy to use so shelters can sign up as partners. This is an excellent example of corporate social responsibility made easy online. Kong gives small businesses a clear example of how to make an impact with strong partnerships.

Kong Makes It Easy for Partners to Get Support

Including a section of the website with information for partners that are clearly marked and easy to understand is a great way to reduce barriers for potential partners. The statement above is clear, concise, and easy to understand so partners know exactly what they can expect.

Kong is transparent about what they are providing and who qualifies for help. They make it easy to fill out the form directly on their website and partners can see examples of other shelters that are already receiving support. This gives social proof that Kong actually does respond to the requests for help they get through the website.

Best examples of corporate social responsibility of 2023 photo of two people waking across the street one helping the other with a walker.

Corporate Social Investment Examples for Small Businesses 

When you translate the lessons these companies are sharing for small businesses, you begin to see how easy corporate social investment is.  By focusing on a few key elements of their business model and partnering that with marketing you get some really awesome results. 

The best part about social impact marketing is you create a narrative that brings you closer to your ideal customers, clients, and audiences while authentically helping others. By generating more profit and revenue through corporate social investments, your marketing will increase your supporters and ultimately your triple bottom line.

CSR is more than sponsoring a golf tournament, it’s about a defined impact mission that fuels your business as much as your mission for profit. The way small businesses can leverage this is by following a few key steps: 

  1. Defining your impact mission. 
  2. Connecting your impact mission to your mission for profit.
  3. Using your marketing to fuel your impact. 

These three key elements will help any small business grow its profit and impact at the same time. The way this works is beautifully illustrated in the stories of these three companies. 

Define Your Impact Mission

Each of these companies has a defined impact mission that is clearly articulated on their website. You can find the mission threaded throughout the words they use, the issues they raise, and the imagery they share. Each even lists its partners, sources, and other information to help you understand the depth of its impact mission. 

When you do not have a clearly defined impact mission you might find yourself giving to whatever cause comes about or to whichever nonprofit organization asks for a donation. Small businesses can more intentionally guide their impact investments by defining the impact they want to make with their business. 

When you define how you will make an impact, you can invest more heavily into the niche you’ve chosen.

Connecting Your Impact Mission to Your Mission for Profit

The Girlfriend Collective does a phenomenal job at connecting their impact and profit missions. Their company is literally defined by a product that makes an impact on the environment. The way that they have aligned their certifications and manufacturing practices with the latest standards demonstrates how deeply their impact and profit missions are aligned and intertwined. 

I couldn’t have found a better example of how deep this can go depending on your sector and products/services. Your impact mission literally can drive your mission for profit and business growth. 

Kong uses its impact mission as a way to decrease the company’s waste. By sharing imperfect dog toys with shelters, everyone benefits. This is a great example of using excess products to make an impact.

Small businesses can start with an idea for impact and grow the relationship with profit as the business develops. Transparency, integrity, and accountability are great ways to connect your existing business goals with impact-driven goals. Once you’ve defined your impact mission looking for connections to your existing business model will help you more clearly articulate why this matters to your business.

Using Your Marketing to Fuel Your Impact

On each of the websites listed above, you’ll notice these examples of corporate social responsibility are clearly listed on the website navigation bar and home page. This makes the impact mission easy to find and helps people who are aligned with the impact mission get more information.

Sharing detailed information about your impact investments and impact mission on your website is the best way to show you legitimately are making a difference. As odd as it sounds, people will need to be sold on your impact mission just the same as your profit mission and products/services. 

That’s because consumers are very discerning and want to find organizations that closely align with their values and passions. Building customer loyalty by connecting people to your impact mission is a shortcut to demonstrating how your passion and values align with theirs.  

Social Impact Strategists Help Align Your Impact and Profit Missions

As a small business owner, you might not have heard of a Social Impact Strategist or know why you need to hire one. A social impact strategist is a special kind of executive coach who only works with entrepreneurs who want to or already make an impact. 

Focusing on growing your business through impact takes commitment to a cause you are passionate about. Working with a Social Impact Strategist to develop your own CSR program and impact mission frees you from trying to sort out the conflict between impact and profit. 

A Social Impact Strategist can guide you on how to set the right priorities to grow your business and use your impact to fuel more impact. This blog post shows you why this is important and what kinds of results you can get by giving you three examples of corporate social responsibility. 

To bring this to your business book a 1:1 consultation call with me so we can discuss the right strategy for you and your business. 


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