What's next for Corporate Social Responsibility?

Posted by KImberly Armstrong on Feb 25, 2013 4:19:00 PM

Take your charitable business efforts to the next level with Corporate Trade

Over the past decade, many impactful (and sometimes controversial) environmental and social studies have taken over the 6-oclock news, social media feeds and political agendas.  Words like climate change, green, sustainability, an inconvenient truth, CSR, and carbon footprint have flooded google searches, twitter feeds, blogs and facebook pages.

Opinions on the state of climate change are polarizing, yet there’s no arguing that environmental and social responsibility is part of our collective consciousness.

Corporations have taken notice. With significant stake in the game, businesses have the opportunity to make a big difference – for better or for worse. And many critical eyes are watching.


Corporate Social ResponsibilityA shift in mindset among Canadian businesses

Having previously worked in the office supplies and paper industry, dealing with many large organizations, I’ve seen a big mindset shift over the years.  As Businesses looked inward to their office supply purchasing habits, they contemplated the impact of those behaviours on the environment and society.  This conversation evolved over the years.


“We want to do the right thing, but at what cost?”

“This could actually be cost neutral. Let’s re-think our deliveries and purchasing patterns”

“Make more room in the budget and take this further.”

“We will only deal with suppliers who meet certain sustainability criteria”


Ten to fifteen years ago, environmental and community programs were nice-to-haves, and yet now we now see Chief Sustainability officers and Champions of Corporate Social Responsibility taking a strategic seat at the Corporate table.

It is encouraging to see that despite the pressures of a prolonged economic downturn, 85% of Canadian corporations either maintained or grew their levels of support from 2010 to 2011, together representing approximately $750 million in community support, according to Imagine Canada’s 2012 Corporate Community Investment study survey.


 What’s on the horizon?

As it relates to charitable support, Businesses will continue to face the challenge of keeping up with demand.  A separate study indicated that many businesses struggle to keep up with increasing demand for community support - 76% admitted facing difficulties arising from increasing requests for donations, and just under half reported a lack of resources. 

Businesses must continue to innovate in order to run a sustainable operation that continues to give back to the community in which it thrives.   One way that some Canadian corporations are thinking outside the box is with the help of Corporate Trade


How Corporate Trade supports Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Essentially, Corporate Trade allows companies to work smarter with their assets and resources.  It enables businesses to drive more value out of their assets while freeing up cash flow – all through a trading process. 

How it works

  1. Company A trades last season’s excess inventory in exchange for a credit, worth about 3 times more than the market value of the asset.

  2. The credit is then used over time to purchase advertising space.

  3. The money saved on that advertising expense (thanks to the credit) can now potentially become cash flow, depending on how it's accounted for.

  4. What a business does with that cash flow is up to them (i.e. direct it towards charitable efforts).

 Corporate trade Model   GENERIC resized 600

For simplicity’s sake, I’ve used a fairly basic example of how the model could be used to unlock cash flow. Yet there are many innovative ways in which Corporate Trading can be used to drive charitable support. 

A few more examples can be found in our guide “6 Ways to use Corproate Trade for CSR” – be sure to get your free copy.   You can also learn more about the Corporate Trade model through this  2 minute video, by checking out my “What is Corporate Trade” blog, and of course on the Active International website.

by Kimberly Armstrong, Senior Director of Market Development

Your turn

Where is your business on the Corporate Social Responsibility spectrum?  How are you keeping up with charitable demand today, and tomorrow?

Topics: Corporate Trade Industry Report, Cost Management, Media & Marketing, Corporate Social Responsibility, Marketing on a Budget


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