7 inspiring examples of corporate social responsibility
You’ve probably thought long and hard about your brand’s look, personality and voice. But what about its role in society?
According to The Sprout Social Index™ 2022, company alignment with personal values is 74% more important to consumers today than it was in 2021. Now, if your corporate social responsibility practices are lacking, it doesn’t only impact the public. It can impact your bottom line as well.
Corporate social responsibility (or CSR, for short) is an accountability model businesses use to integrate social and environmental causes into their operations. Depending on the cause, this can mean anything from corporate sponsorships to volunteer days to awareness campaigns.
How your brand takes action can set it up to create lasting connections with audiences that are looking to put their money where their mouths are. To help you promote your company’s program, we’ve gathered seven corporate social responsibility examples from top brands using social media to spread the word on how they’re giving back. Let’s dive in.
1. Alaska Airlines’ path to net zero emissions
One of Alaska Airlines’ five core values is to “do the right thing”. It may sound simple, but it’s paved the way for some truly innovative corporate social responsibility efforts, including a five-part plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2040.
This is no small project for a company that burns 750 million gallons of fuel each year. Alaska Airlines actually expanded its business model in new ways with the formation of Alaska Star Ventures, an investment arm that supports emerging aviation sustainability technologies.
This does more than just help them meet their goal: the ongoing investment also serves to push an entire industry forward. What they learn from this big, audacious goal can help inform how other aviation companies model their sustainability practices in the future.
Great #goals for an airline! I appreciate you mentioning #electric & #solar assistance is coming. But before they're available on the jets… I'd ♥️ 2 know your plans for those! But good start! Makes me feel good when I do have 2 fly! #cleanenergy #AlternativeAirplay #airtravel
— Amanda Nicole (@AmandaNicole487) April 21, 2021
A 20-year plan toward sustainability ensures that the company isn’t promoting patchwork solutions toward a problem as dire as the climate crisis. Instead, they’re thinking big, practicing accountability and investing in their approach.
Takeaway: You don’t need to have made good on all your CSR efforts before you can start talking about them. Letting your fans in on your journey can humanize your brand and show you’re making the incremental changes needed for a better future.
2. Grove Collaborative’s holiday sustainability series
Anyone who’s ever hosted a holiday gathering knows that even a little party can result in a lot of garbage. That’s why Grove Collaborative is helping people make the most wonderful time of the year wonderful for the planet, too.
Between gifts, gatherings, and the general bustle of the season, it can be a lot to remember the planet, too. 🌏 But as…
Posted by Grove Collaborative on Friday, November 18, 2022
Throughout November, Grove Collaborative used their social channels to share tips and tricks for a more sustainable holiday season. As a brand that specializes in reusable, planet-friendly household goods, this would be an easy opportunity to promote their own product line. Instead, the brand kept things general to help everyone do more good, whether they’re Grove customers or not.
This CSR example works because it shows how well Grove Collaborative knows their mission and audience. Instead of encouraging people to buy more, they’re providing sustainable solutions for what they already have.
Keeping this series product promotion-free helps Grove Collaborative position their brand as more than just a direct-to-consumer goods shop: they are a resource consumers can keep coming back to for more tips on sustainable living.
Takeaway: Avoid including promotional language in posts about your CSR efforts. Focus on raising awareness to keep your message authentic.
3. Bumble’s anti-cyberflashing campaign
For a long time, cyberflashing felt like an unfortunate side effect of being online. Now, Bumble is stepping up to change that.
We’re continuing the momentum this month in California with the FLASH ACT (SB 53)! Learn more about these bills and how you can show support here: https://t.co/Aj9vdNt58j
— Bumble (@bumble) September 1, 2022
Their stance on the issue is simple but powerful: Flashing is a crime, and digital flashing should be, too. So far, they’ve helped pass legislation in both Texas and Virginia that makes sending unsolicited lewd photos punishable by law.
This work comes as a direct result of a Bumble-commissioned survey distributed in 2018 which found that one in three women have received unwanted, inappropriate photographs while using the Bumble app. After looking into the phenomenon and finding no legal basis to prevent this type of unwanted exposure, they got to work.
TY Assemblymembers for passing #SB53 with strong bipartisan support! This bill will establish legal protections for Californians when they receive unsolicited sexually explicit images & videos—known as ‘cyberflashing.’ Now SB 53 returns to the Senate for a final concurrence vote! pic.twitter.com/AUjNaU63Og
— Connie Leyva (@SenatorLeyva) August 18, 2022
Bumble is setting a new standard for corporate social responsibility examples by taking a stand on their user’s behalf. These efforts help uphold their brand mission of supporting empowered connections in love by creating a safer digital environment for them to flourish.
Takeaway: Brands shouldn’t be afraid to get political online as long as they’re working in the best interest of their target audience. Use survey tools and social listening to zero in on what matters to your fans and use your brand’s platform to show you have their back.
4. Tony’s Chocolonely’s mission for a 100% slave-free supply chain
The Dutch confectionery company Tony’s Chocolonely specializes in delicious, fair-trade chocolate treats. They also specialize in advocating for farmers’ rights and a slave-free global chocolate supply chain.
Yup, you read that right. Modern slavery is an unfortunate reality in the cocoa industry.
Today is #worlddayagainstchildlabor. ✊Today 1.56 million children are still working illegally on cocoa farms in Ghana & Côte d’Ivoire. Last year, 1,701 of those cases were identified in our own supply chain. Read how this shows our way is working: https://t.co/GGkakTUugR pic.twitter.com/IrFjBQRfai
— Tony's Chocolonely (@TonyChocolonely) June 12, 2022
This tragedy continues because the majority of consumers are far removed from the processes that bring goods into stores for them to purchase. This distance prevents these incredibly harmful practices from being seen, considered or discussed at large. That’s where Tony’s Chocolonely comes in.
The company raises awareness on the issue of modern slavery every chance they get. It’s in their packaging, across their website and a major theme throughout their social content. For Tony’s Chocolonely, corporate social responsibility is more than a practice: it’s a part of their brand’s mission.
Aww you're making us blush! ❤️ Thanks so much for the choco love 🍫 Only together we can make 100% slave free the norm in all chocolate
— Tony's Chocolonely (@TonyChocolonely) September 28, 2022
Takeaway: If you’re trying to raise awareness on a specific cause, create a more cohesive story by tying your social corporate responsibility content back to an overarching brand messaging framework.
5. Subaru’s #SubaruLovesPets campaign
Thanks to Subaru, October 22nd is every pup’s favorite day of the year.
In 2019, Subaru introduced National Make A Dog’s Day as a part of their #SubaruLovesPets initiative. Since then, they’ve been celebrating furry friends and encouraging customers to consider adopting “underdogs”—dogs with special needs—at pop-up adoption events at dealerships across the country.
On social, this has resulted in some seriously adorable collaborations. In 2022, they partnered with the comedy Twitter account WeRateDogs (@dog_rates) to share adoption stories and, of course, dog ratings.
This is the adoption story of Rango (now Gus), everyone’s favorite little hippo ❤️ @subaru_usa #MakeADogsDay #ad pic.twitter.com/sg0SSK2hQ5
— WeRateDogs® (@dog_rates) October 19, 2022
This, along with their long-standing partnership with the ASPCA, shows that corporate social responsibility efforts don’t need to be tied to your industry or business function. If it matters to your team, then it matters. Period.
Takeaway: Creator partnerships aren’t limited to product promotions. Use them to amplify your corporate social responsibility efforts to share your mission with new audiences.
6. Misfits Market’s #MisfitMemos series
Misfits Market does more than bring quality, organic foods directly to your door. They also bring quality information on inefficiencies in our food system directly to your feed.
Next up in our #MisfitsMemo series, we’re addressing how good waste has become a systemic problem—and why supporting grocers like us is a great way to start effecting change! #misfitsmarket #foodwaste #sustainability
Their #MisfitsMemos series on TikTok highlights little-known problems in the food supply chain to show consumers how they can use their dollars to make a change.
These bite-sized educational videos are a great introduction to the Misfits Market mission. In just over 30 seconds, their team can explain how they’re addressing inefficiencies in the food system through an innovative business model that has embedded corporate social responsibility throughout its operations.
Welcome to MisfitsMemo, our new series in which we break down the food system, one step at a time. First up: Why ordering groceries online can be better for the planet than shopping at a brick-and-mortar supermarket. 👀 #misfitsmarket
Takeaway: Social media can be a powerful teaching tool. Use educational content to build on your audience’s knowledge of a practice or issue.
7. Nike’s Bloom Over Doom campaign
Nike has big goals when it comes to sustainability. Their Move to Zero initiatives include pledges on transitioning to renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions and diverting manufacturing waste.
To promote these initiatives, Nike launched the Bloom Over Doom campaign in August 2022.
Bloom Over Doom celebrates the company’s philosophy toward innovation in sustainability. Rather than focusing on the risks and dangers of leaving the climate crisis unchecked, they’re focusing on how they can support a brighter future through healing, optimism and collective action.
The campaign is packed with bright social visuals and aspirational copy. It’s exciting to look at and even more exciting to feel a part of.
Takeaway: Giving back is a good thing. Even if you’re supporting a heavier cause, incorporate some cheer by painting the picture of your brand’s vision for the future. This will give your followers something exciting to root for as they keep up with your progress.
Find the issues that matter to your audience
These corporate social responsibility examples show that when brands talk about the causes they support, fans will respond with engagement and support. Raise awareness on the causes that resonate with your audience to help them get up to speed so they can help you do the work.
Learn how to effectively deliver your message as a part of a greater overarching strategy using our corporate communications plan template. This will help you proactively build a positive public image that advances your reputation and connects your brand with its next biggest fan.
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