Making Markets work for CSR

CSR in full form is Corporate Social Responsibility. There are compelling market drivers which would give a positive reinforcement to corporate companies to focus on Triple bottom line performance. These powerful drivers energize innovation by companies, so that CSR becomes an integral part of the marketing mix and competitive differentiator.

The most potent force that can trigger a complete rethink of corporate strategy and bring about transformation change lies in the power of consumers’ franchise. The term ‘consumer’ is used here in a broader sense to encompass other market participants including Government – both as a buyer and regulator, Investors, Employees, Job Seekers and other segments of Civil Society.

An enlightened consumer by exercising a choice in favor of ‘socially responsible’ enterprise can unleash a powerful force of incentives. A ‘positive vote’ for socially responsible companies, exercised through preference for a company’s products and services, would change the context and dimension of meaningful CSR, create strong economic multiplexes and enhance shareholders value. The implication of such consumer franchise for business will be wide ranging.

1. Consumer preference will spur a massive movement in corporate innovation to integrate business goals with the building of societal capital.

2. CSR can also emerge as a distinctive market differentiator and help position progressive companies more strongly in the marketplace.

3. Companies will vie for consumer spend by positioning CSR a compelling value proposition.

4. Gains would accrue to the company and its shareholders with increasing revenues and goodwill.

5. Where consumers go, Investors will follow. Investors will increasingly find such socially responsible companies attractive, given the larger market gains.

6. Potential employees would also seek opportunities in such successful companies and the enterprises themselves would be better positioned in the war for talent.

7. Competition amongst CSR exemplars would lead to a perceptible augmentation of natural and social capital and this would create a more sustainable future.

Thus, powerful market drivers will emerge to encourage CSR as an integral part of business strategy. In the course of time, stakeholders will build a more enduring relationship wit such companies, continuously creating value for the organization, for its shareholders and the nation.