Implementing corporate social responsibility (CSR) plans is an increasingly common trend among companies of all types today. Many companies even notice an increase in their bottom line to accompany the ethical advantages of CSR. Businesses such as Solberg Manufacturing, Honest Tea and Recreational Equipment Inc. provide perfect examples of how companies can strive to continually reduce their environmental impact and treat their employees and those they do business with fairly.
Solberg Manufacturing in Itasca, IL has partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency for its design and manufacturing of oil mist eliminators. Oil mist eliminators prevent visible emissions from turbine lube oil engines and similar pieces of equipment. Not only does this help protect the surro unding environment, it even allows the lube oil to be recycled. Solberg Manufacturing has also met the rigorous social and environmental standards required to become a certified B Corp. They are a perfect example of a company that has benefited as they work to better the world around them.
Honest Tea is a company that sells only organic, fairly-traded teas. It has successfully maintained its commitment to people and to the environment since its foundation in 1997. Honest Tea has also remained committed to providing a healthier option than most bottled drinks. When Coca-Cola invested in the company and tried to get it to stop promoting its products as containing no high fructose corn syrup, Honest Tea refused to do so. In fact, in 2010 the Huffington Post listed Honest Tea as one of its “Eight Revolutionary Socially Responsible Companies.”
Recreational Equipment Inc.
Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) actively takes measures to reduce its environmental impact – even some that are not necessarily the most financially beneficial. For example, 20 percent of its energy consumption comes from clean energy that it purchased in 2006. The cost for this energy was above the standard market rate at the time; however, since the purchase was made at a flat rate, the move has paid off over time as energy costs increase. In addition, in areas where REI was unable to eliminate emissions it purchased “carbon offsets” to counteract the carbon emissions it did create.
While each of these companies has had to make tough decisions, they are proof that it is possible run a successful organization while maintaining CSR values. CSR is no longer merely a buzzword floating around the corporate world, but rather a set of real-world values that are being acted upon every day.