Insight #5: Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility: how companies manage the business processes to produce an overall positive impact on society. In turn, they are responsible for the behavior of its members and may be accountable for their misdeeds (Seitel). In simpler terms, one could say social responsibility is when a company is committed to benefiting their consumers, their employees, and the world they live in through the efforts of their business. Non-profit organizations can easily be identified as being socially responsible, almost always; but what about the “for-profit” companies? Do they make a point to demonstrate corporate social responsibility and permeate it in everything they do?

Upon my research for this question, I was at a loss for examples; so, I took my empty brain to Google. The first company that popped up was obvious- and I admit- I was embarrassed that I couldn’t think of it on my own, being that I am a consumer of their products. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Burt’s Bees. Burt’s Bees is an “Earth Friendly, Natural Personal Care Company” (burtsbees.com). They strive to maximize the well-being of their consumers and the world around them through their 100% natural, Earth-friendly personal care products. Through the efforts Burt’s Bees makes to ensure that everything they produce- from their infamous care products to what they’re packaged in- is 100% natural and toxin free, they clearly demonstrate the leadership marketers need to simultaneously achieve two objectives: goodwill and building a sustainable, impressive business.

So how does Burt’s Bees demonstrate social responsibility? Do you have all day? There are countless examples that showcase their commitment to being a socially responsible corporation. As I stated earlier, they strive to ensure that all of their products are 100% natural. As of right now, half are 99% natural while the other half are already the full 100%. However, Burt’s Bees is a very humble company; they constantly voice that everything is a learning process- even for them. This company is committed to continue learning how to make every single last product 100% natural for the greater good, which is a valued perspective of theirs. With that, they claim full responsibility on their website under the tab titled, Social & Environmental Reporting, for any and all efforts they make. Burt’s Bees aims to benefit their stakeholders by the choices they make as a business. According to Bob Liodice, who authored an article on companies with high social responsibility, “Since the brand’s start at a crafts fair selling $200 worth of honey, the company has since expanded to candles, lip balm and now more than 150 products. In 2009, revenue topped $250 million” (Liodice).

burts

One of the most refreshing things about Burt’s Bees that shows they are socially responsible is their transparency perspective. On every product label is a list of the all natural ingredients that were used to make it. They feel it’s the only way they can grow as a business, to ensure that the consumers have the knowledge of their products. By doing so, they are not only educating the consumers, but the industry as well. Additionally, they supply their website viewers with yearly statement reports of their efforts, spanning every two years. How much more transparent can you get? Their goal is for every action they take, be for and benefit the greater good: their consumers, their products, their employees, their families, and the world in which all of the above live in.

A pledge that the company made- that I hold near and dear to my heart- is their vow to never test their products or ingredients on animals, even though they’re pure and natural. Burt’s Bees has a goal for the greater good, and it affects all living beings of the world. The company is very adamant about free trade and working conditions in the sourcing of their products; they stay committed to holding very high standards in regards to that. Additionally, they strive for the most safe and efficient packaging that they contain their products in. Their packaging has the lowest possible impact on the environment, and had high levels of post consumer recycled material. By doing so, they are catering to the sensitivity of the environment.

burtsss

The most prominent action they are taking to increase their social responsibility is The Greater Good Foundation , formalized in 2007. This foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization that strives to help other non-profits. The entire foundation is ran by volunteer employees and funded by their own website sales- 10% of them. Through Burt’s Bees passion for lending a hand, The Greater Good Foundation aimed to empower others that resonated with their mission, especially innovative grass roots organizations that work to eliminate the causes of social and environmental problems. Their entire focus is the well being of our world and all that’s in it. By these actions they take, they not only do so, but also prove to be one of the top ten socially responsible corporations.

If you would like to learn more about the efforts that Burt’s Bees is making, or information on how to volunteer, please visit their website here.

Seitel, Fraser. The Practice of Public Relations. 11th edition. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc., 2010. Print.

Liodice, Bob. “10 Companies With Social Responsibility at the Core.” Ad Age. N.p., 19 Apr 2010. Web. 24 May 2013. <http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/10-companies-social-responsibility-core/143323/&gt;.

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