By: Ashley Byars
As the year draws to a close, here are seven Social Impact trends in CSR that defined 2019 and what’s driving them.
- Brands Taking Stands – Consumers and employees have come to expect brands and their leaders to weigh in on important social issues. Ben and Jerry’s CEO Matthew McCarthy believes it’s important for companies to align on issues and values. He warns that if your brand isn’t supporting an issue, it is no longer relevant.
- Climate Change Takes Centerstage – Greta Thunberg, a teenage activist from Sweden, has become the face of climate change and was named Time’s 2019 Person of the Year. Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Seventh Generation and Lush all supported the fight against climate change and encouraged customers and employees to participate in local marches. Mars is urging companies to Pledge for the Planet.
- Employee Engagement Continues to Rise – Employees are becoming more involved in CSR initiatives and companies are ecstatic. Data from Benevity puts the turnover rate of employees who neither donated nor volunteered at 28%. For engaged employees who give and volunteer, the turnover rate fell to 12 percent – proving employees who participate in employee engagement programs stay longer.
- Equality Joins its Cousins Diversity & Inclusion in the Spotlight – Equality in pay is one of the top trends in corporate social responsibility. Companies are taking a public stand against harassment and discrimination because of the #metoo movement. Merriam-Webster announced it has chosen the gender neutral word “they” as the 2019 word of the year. Women continue to rise up the ranks in companies that walk the talk in social impact.
- Giving Tuesday Attracts Corporate Partners – a reported $511 million was raised online in the U.S. — that’s about $111 million more than last year’s $400 million raised online, an increase of almost 28 percent. Companies are taking notice. PayPal, T-Mobile, Kroger, Rodan + Fields, Starbucks, Facebook, Victoria’s Secret, Amazon, Fossil, Peloton, Patagonia, Gillette, MasterCard, Topgolf, Nordstrom, Dick’s Sporting Goods and eBay are some of the brand heavyweights who partnered with nonprofits on Giving Tuesday.
- Move Over Millennials, Gen Z is Here to Stay – as Gen Z hits the workforce CSR will take on even greater importance for attracting and retaining employees. Gen Z, even more than Millennials, aspire to live a life of impact.
- Sustainability, the Last Straw – Marriott, Nestle, Red Lobster, The Walt Disney Company and Starbucks are just a few of the many companies that banned plastic straws in 2019 to cut back on environmental waste. Dasani is bringing sustainability education to fans at sporting events with its Dasani tailgate pilot program. HP committed $1 million this year to help restore forests in Brazil and China with its partner, World Wildlife Fund.