The social role of the company has long been discussed and it should be considered responsible as a citizen in the same way as other citizens. Especially since the latter, in the age of the Internet, are able to exert strong pressure on the company. Rather than see it as a compelling aspect, why not take advantage of it and tie up an advertising campaign that enhances its image? Even Wal-Mart and McDonald’s understood it!
A new perception of the role and responsibility of the company in society arises due to the increased ethical conscience of consumers. And many groups are likely to blame the company for the slightest mistake (customers, associations, local authorities, investors, trade unions, etc.). As such, it will soon be necessary for an organization to provide a social balance sheet in addition to an economic record, as its success and reputation are no longer based exclusively on income and profits but also on its behavior.
A socially responsible company is committed to respecting a set of principles on the environment, working conditions, and standards, human rights, business ethics, etc., which go beyond the application of legal provisions. However, this is still a rather vague notion that everyone interprets in his own way.
Why be more social responsible even if the law does not impose it?
The company can benefit from its responsible involvement in many ways.
- To serve economic interests – Responsible behavior improves the ability to attract new investors. It can also avoid the financial risks (boycott the product, withdrawal of investors, etc.) related to socially unacceptable.Il gestures allow to acquire new shares Market with a clientele increasingly sensitive to this type of initiative and to retain the existing clientele. Companies take the opportunity to raise the price of their products, some actions justify this increase while others are only subterfuges.Qui said responsible behavior, called reduction of consumption (water, energy, raw materials, etc.) .), Reuse and recycling,
- To improve its image – Previously, the philanthropic gestures of the companies were rather discreet. Today, under the cover of sustainable development, everything is a pretext to enhance its brand image. A “responsible” image, therefore, becomes an excellent marketing tool. It also allows responding to the pressure of a competitor who already displays his colors … or rather his green color.
- Building a Competitive Advantage – Why not take advantage of responsible behavior and stay ahead of the competition when it has not yet embarked on this path? In order to stand out, the company can also undertake innovative social actions or develop “socially responsible” products. Is not the role of a leader a step forward of all the others?
- Responding to Market Requirements – If you think the client is not concerned about business practices, you will have to redo your homework. In the age of the Internet, blogs, forums and other forms of communication, consumer pressure will accelerate. Several large tourism companies have understood this. British Airways created its Sustainable Business Unit. Accor has set up a Sustainable Development Committee composed of high-level managers and set up a Sustainable Development Department. This group has also developed an environmental charter and aims to maintain its presence in the four major socially responsible investment indices (Dow Jones SI, FTSE4good, ASPI Eurozone and Ethibel Sustainability Index). In partnership with Future Forests, Avis Europe has launched a green plan to offset carbon dioxide emissions from its activities. And the list of companies and initiatives continues to grow.
- Responding to regulatory issues – Adopting responsible behavior makes it possible to anticipate or delay the implementation by the public authorities of binding regulations. This also reduces the risk of prosecution.
- For ethical reasons – Several leaders want to instill in the company their own values. The organization that takes concrete actions contributes to improving productivity, working conditions, loyalty, and employee motivation, as employees take pride in it.
How can we effectively communicate out social commitments?
The customer must understand …
- The benefits of the product, the benefits it will derive from it (this green marketing rule is also the first rule of marketing);
- The positive impact of the product on the environment in all its forms (health, animal welfare, nature, community support, etc.);
- By encouraging the company, the consumer contributes to making a difference and makes a concrete gesture;
- That the company firmly believes in its commitments;
- That the product is as effective as, or more than, another product that does not possess these characteristics;
- That it is worth, if it is the case, to spend a little more to make a committed gesture to improve its well-being and the environment.
- However, cliché phrases such as “save the planet” or “for the welfare of humanity” should be avoided. The message must be more concrete, more tangible to the consumer.
No one is against virtue
Sustainable tourism and social responsibility are not a wet squib … but it takes time before the consumer and the company integrate all the dimensions that this entails.
This process is an ongoing process where each step has to be progressively reviewed: to consider how to make the product greener, to redefine business relationships with responsible suppliers, to review ways of doing things … and, above all, First gesture to engage in the movement!