Corporate social responsibility and the middle market
A business imperative to walk the talk
WHITE PAPER |
For decades, corporate social responsibility (CSR) plans have been used by companies in varying degrees to participate in select charities and causes; however, in recent years, CSR strategies have evolved as an important way for businesses to connect with their communities, demonstrate commitment to core values and deliver on brand promises. At the same time, today’s consumers and employees are requiring more transparency from the companies they engage with, compelling more businesses to walk the talk of CSR.
Middle market companies are active participants in this movement. According to special questions in the third quarter RSM US Middle Market Business Index (MMBI), nine of 10 middle market executives indicated their companies supported social, community or philanthropic causes in the last two years. Most also said their organizations had a focus on diversity and inclusion. However, while community and other issues were significant concerns for middle market businesses, the way they formally addressed these causes varied. Only a little over a third (38 percent) of middle market organizations indicated they had a formal social responsibility plan, with larger organizations more likely than smaller organizations to have a plan (50 percent versus 26 percent).
Against the backdrop of heightened transparency in the corporate arena, we believe the absence of formality represents significant opportunity for many middle market businesses to improve their public profile and their value in the marketplace at a time when both the public—and investors—are placing a premium on businesses with strong social integrity.
Our MMBI special report examines:
- The value of CSR to middle market businesses and the communities and stakeholders they serve
- The impact of formalized planning
- Why companies should continue to improve their efforts related to this business imperative
- What planning steps should be considered to launch or improve CSR efforts
Inside this report
According to the RSM US MMBI, most companies engage in social responsibility. While there were common areas of focus, formal plans varied.
An effective CSR strategy can have a lasting impact on a company’s brand reputation, especially among the millennial workforce.
A strong culture, diversity and inclusion strategy is often a mainstay of an organization’s overall corporate social responsibility program.
While CSR can address a variety of factors, some believe the strategy can also deliver significant business dividends.
By adding diversity into a supplier selection process, middle market businesses can differentiate themselves and their CSR strategy.
A strategic CSR program is important to organizations of all sizes today, but getting started can be challenging.