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Is There A Real Return On Investment with Social Responsibility?

June 21, 2010

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We’ve posted a lot about on why CSR is a good idea and “what’s in it for me?” in terms of socially responsibility practices. Let’s cut to the chase though. Pushing a good image and a warm fuzzy feeling aside, why should a company push a “profit at all costs” mentality aside in the name of social responsibility?

Just take a look at BP.

This isn’t going to be another “Down with BP” type post that litters the web now. It’s a chance to step back and learn more from their situation (as this article here brilliantly discusses). Taking a look at BP’s…learning experience…it shows how not taking actions to be a more socially conscious companies incurs much greater long term risks aka the Gulf Coast.

With social responsibility and spending the extra dollar (on either more sustainable, green equipment or helping the community) you reduce the risk of something coming back to haunt you later. In BP’s scenario, they cut costs and corners to save money and increase their profit margin a bit more. Now they’re spending billions cleaning up after themselves. Maya Fisher-French said it well in her article:

“Companies that act in a responsible way or that manufacture goods that are not harmful to the environment will not face unexpected and very expensive liabilities like cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico.”

Using a business model to make a more beneficial impact on the world rarely reaps negative dividends. In the long term, having a socially responsible mindset – whether it be green business practices, giving back or social entrepreneurship – always pays off in the long term.

What do you think?

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