Do consumers believe Corporate Social Responsibility campaigns?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the practice of achieving social, environmental, and financial growth in organisations. Due to the internet, we are more aware of things going on in the world and therefore, there is generally a higher expectation for organisations to give something back to the environment they exist within. Due to news about the climate crisis, the modern consumer is looking to make more responsible choices to strive for a more sustainable world. However, in a world full of fake news, do consumers believe organisational CSR, or do they just think organisations are promising things to boost their profile?

Many CSR campaigns centre around being more sustainable, whilst giving something back to the environment in effort to counter-act the negative effect which the organisation has on it. One example of an organisation which has implemented environmental CSR tactics is Microsoft. They have promised to become carbon neutral by 2030 but have gone further to promise to remove all carbon the company has ever emitted by 2050. They are giving back to the environment by pledging to launch an innovation find which will help most stakeholders to reduce their carbon footprint. Whilst this all sounds great, the ambitious goals they set are hard to see as realistic. However, Microsoft have helped to change the face of the world with technology, so consumers can be hopeful that they follow through on these promises and remove and replace their carbon emissions. However, as most consumers don’t know the science behind carbon emissions, its sensible to think that if viewed cynically, Microsoft have only pledged this to improve their social profile.

The Covid-19 pandemic de-railed many organisations CSR plans, however, some organisations in the UK joined the Blue Light Card Service which is a discount service for emergency services, NHS, social care, and armed forces. Many people’s respect for key workers has risen due to the pandemic, and I believe that in the UK there is now more appreciation for health workers due to sacrifices they have made. By many key organisations such as Dominos, EE, Asda and Apple working with the Blue Light Card to provide discounts to these people, they are clearly showing that their organisation values them. However, it will be interesting to see which organisations continue to provide discounts to key workers and which stop.

Moreover, many people now hold the desire to support small businesses after seeing the personal effects which Covid-19 has on individuals. In 2020, Instagram implemented a story sticker which allowed users to show their love for small businesses by mentioning them directly through the sticker. When users used the filter, the stories were added to a shared Instagram story, on which users can view all the other businesses promotes, encouraging Instagram users to shop small businesses. As many small businesses run off of Instagram, this was a clever initiative created by Instagram to show their allegiance towards small businesses. However, as most trends do on social media, this one died, and most users no longer share what small businesses they shop from. I can’t see the small business sticker anymore on my Instagram which suggests to me that Instagram only created the sticker to please the users and boost engagement.

In conclusion, I think that most CSR campaigns exist to benefit the organisational profile, whilst also helping the world in some way. I think that CSR campaigns are important to show that organisations are trying to tackle some of the issues faced in the world today. What do you think?

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