More and more brands and businesses are communicating their values via strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. And, consumers are increasingly favoring companies that align with their ethics and take a stand on the important issues of the day.
“When a company shares their consumers’ views and values and helps contribute to solving a problem everyone agrees is a problem, consumers are going to want to keep working with or buying from that company,” said Josh Weiss, CEO of 10 to 1 Public Relations.
A recent article by Kayla O’Neill for Global Giving stated that:
71% of U.S. millennials hope companies will take the lead on the social issues they find important.
40% of consumers seek purposeful brands and trust in brands to act in the best interest of society.
76% of respondents believe CEOs should take the lead on change rather than waiting for the government to require it.
In response to growing societal and environmental needs around the country, and consumer demand for meaningful CSR, many major corporations, including Walmart, Mary Kay and Verizon, have launched initiatives that are focused on climate change and people affected by the health and economic impacts of COVID-19.
Walmart Takes Climate Change Seriously
Leveraging more than 15 years of sustainability efforts, Walmart announced that they will be taking their environmental efforts even further over the next 20 years, including committing to zero emissions by 2040. “We want to play an important role in transforming the world’s supply chains to be regenerative. We face a growing crisis of climate change and nature loss, and we all need to take action with urgency,” said Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart. Adding, “The commitments we’re making today not only aim to decarbonize Walmart’s global operations, they also put us on the path to becoming a regenerative company — one that works to restore, renew and replenish in addition to preserving our planet, and encourages others to do the same.”
Additionally, by partnering with the Walmart Foundation, which was created to serve local communities through education, workforce development, environmental sustainability and health and wellness, Walmart, is working to “protect, manage or restore some of the world’s most critical landscapes.” The Walmart Foundation plans to safeguard the environment by preserving acres from development, adopting regenerative agricultural practices and investing in “placed-based efforts that help preserve natural ecosystems and improve livelihoods.”
Mary Kay Offers Support To The Native American Community During COVID-19
As COVID-19 has swept across the country, the Native American population has been particularly hard hit, especially the Navajo Nation in the Southwest. In addition to an early $10 million donation in support of communities around the world affected by COVID-19, beauty company Mary Kay has stepped in and provided 75,000 units of hand sanitizer to the Indian Health Service (IHS). The IHS is an operating division within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that provides medical and public health services to federally recognized Native American tribes and Alaska Native people. The donation from Mary Kay was able to help supply 26 hospitals, 59 health centers and 32 health stations within the nationwide IHS network. Mary Kay also supplied hand sanitizer to Gallup Indian Medical Center (GIMC), which is leading efforts in the Native American community to create home hygiene care kits and educational materials.
“Big, sweeping efforts to help fight this virus [COVID-19] are important – and impactful – but we also must focus in on our most vulnerable communities,” said David Holl, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Mary Kay. “The countless stories of families affected in our country’s great Native American population are devastating. It’s our hope that organizations continue to support the Indian Health Service so frontline workers can safely stop the spread and provide care for those already affected by the virus.”
Verizon Launches Citizen Verizon, Aimed At Providing Skills Training And Tools For Job Advancement
In July, Verizon announced its new CSR initiative, Citizen Verizon. Citizen Verizon is a plan for economic, environmental and social advancement with the intention of providing 10 million young people with digital skills training by 2030, being 100% carbon neutral company-wide by 2035 and preparing 500,000 people for “jobs of the future” by 2030.
“With Citizen Verizon, our team is making a significant commitment to move the world forward through the power of action and technology,” said Hans Vestberg, Chairman and CEO of Verizon. “There has never been a more critical moment to demonstrate the power of purpose. To continue being one of the world's technology leaders, we must address the economic, environmental and societal issues that are most pressing.”
The last year has been a time of multiple crises around the world and in the U.S., and many consumers are placing a larger emphasis, when they shop for products and services, on the roles corporations play during times of need and upheaval. Digital marketers that are able to leverage the power of their brands and authentically connect with consumers through purpose-driven messaging about CSR initiatives can generate consumer loyalty and stronger bottom lines.
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