In the latest “Tech For Good Talk” Rich and Gabby gave us the down-low on corporate social responsibility. Or CSR as the kids call it.
Corporate social responsibility, helps companies be socially accountable, to itself, stakeholders as well as the public. Whether this is giving back to the community or taking part in philanthropic causes, brands are increasingly using CSR to make a difference whilst building a positive brand identity. In the world of “Tech For Good” this is a huge facet of what we are trying to do.
But how could technology impact CSR departments and influence long-term, sustainable outcomes for organisations?
The nitty gritty of CSR
Often at the mere mention of it, people want to know exactly what CSR actually does? Is it just that department that sits outside of the corporation that does some good to mitigate the bad things that are happening around the world. Or, is it having that social responsibility embedded into the culture of that organisation? There is no black and white answer, but it’s all of the above. Keeping those values at the heart of everything you do and at the forefront of decisions.
It’s vital that the decision-makers at the helm of companies don’t see CSR as a luxury as we head into a time of economic crisis. Budget cuts are inevitable, but it is necessary that it is not seen as an easy choice to cut corners on.
This is a company we have had the pleasure of working with quite closely for years now, so this vote is a bit subjective! However, the undeniable good they good throughout their entire organisation is undeniable.
We are talking about Lush, of course!
They are a brand that has come from a mom ‘n pop shop to exploding globally into the cosmetics brand we all know and love today. Lush sets the bar extremely high as they are a company that CSR doesn’t do just to the justice to the way they treat their view of their own corporate social responsibility. It’s just something that imbibes the whole culture of the corporation from the inside out.
Just as an example, some of the work we did with them, was to help remove packaging from their products. Initially they set up a “naked store” in Milan, that has since been replicated in 9 other brick and mortar locations around the world! What they were looking for was to see how they could use technology to get rid of the packaging.
The packaging is good for getting important information about the product easily into the hands of the consumer. Details about ingredients and allergies are always a quintessential part of packaging a product. Which is good! But, not so much when that very packaging is just ending up in landfills.
We helped Lush find a solution to their problem with “Lush Lens”; an app to scan a product and means that you instantly have all the information you could ever need about that product at your fingertips. We’ve had over 1,000,000 scans and translated into 17 languages, it has been a really great product for Lush to continue knocking it out of the park with the CSR ambitions!
It really is such a great example of the topic in that they don’t HAVE to do things like this, but because it just is WHO they are as a company that it is such an organic process for them.
Picking our experts brain!
We were lucky enough to be able to chat to Todd Bradley-Cole, Senior CSR Manager at the John Lewis Partnership, as it was invaluable to be able to pick his brain on the topic.
Todd did a great job at breaking it down for us:
In his role, he is in charge of the indirect procurement within John Lewis Partnership. So it’s all of the things being sourced that aren’t being sold. Masks are a good current example of what he is sourcing for the employees.
The Partnership has culturally imbedded within its constitution to “Do the right thing for the planet and for the people”. It does get trickier when it comes down to the commercial aspect and it not just being about a price, but making sure everything is ethical and sustainable. So it’s that tricky dance of the emotions and wanting to do the right thing, with the commercial aspect of the business.
In the current climate, we’re all aware the economy has taken a hit, stores are closing and a restructure is happening. But, where you would think something like a CSR budget would take a hit, it hasn’t. There has just been a change in focus so it’s been about listening to what the customers want. There is more online shopping, so it is imperative the supply chain is as “green” as possible. That the customer knows that their concerns about sustainability is important and they keep that thought at the forefront of their business practices.
While it’s a challenge to show CSR directly, as it is so many thoughtful decisions made for a more responsible initiate, that customers are unaware of. So it is all about engaging with their customers, and partners and keeping up that communication!
Tech For Good...and CSR!
Some technology that a client of ours has built is a way to help big corporations understand their supply chains. It’s about making those bigger companies more aware of how it works and what they can learn. Find out more in the video below!
It’s a really interesting platform that Global Forest Watch has launched. Such a great way to use technology to help at a level that goes beyond the consumer and will make a massive impact. With these organisations can see their measurable impact. Which is a way of how you measure what it is that you are doing and how impactful it is and how you can improve
Terramatch is another wonderful example of technology and one that we so happened to develop! It wasn’t developed specifically for corporations, but to help corporations to use their CSR and ESG impact the budget.
It’s a platform we built, that allows you to connect projects to find. So you would upload your project into the app, and it will specifically have the impact that your project is going to have, and investors get to “match” with a project to fund and go for one that offers the impact they are seeking.
A big thank you to everyone that was able to join us for our event – we look forward to seeing you at our next one which is focused on the future of healthcare in a contactless world. Get your ticket here!