A male koala puffing his chest and showing off his scent gland, courting a nearby female © OWAD EnvironmentA yellow-tailed black cockatoo that survived the bushfires on Kangaroo Island © WWF-Aus / Paul Fahy

The importance of CSR and the growing need for environmental change

22 Nov 2021

Keywords
  • Partnerships
  • corporate partnerships

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become more mainstream from investing in green technologies to giving employees time off to volunteer – but are these efforts to truly champion sustainable business practices or have they devolved into box-ticking activities? 

Educated consumers are increasingly demanding that businesses adopt – and even develop – strategies that promote ethical business practices. 

With the potential for businesses to improve their reputation and gain a competitive edge, offering customers more sustainable options is a clear win-win. 

However, in focusing on these benefits, are we losing sight of the ultimate objective of CSR?  

Business champions ad - Renewables Nation

What does CSR stand for?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to a company’s practices and policies to responsibly manage the social, environmental and economic impacts of its operations. 

CSR policies and practices may be created in response to consumers, shareholders or employees’ expectations so that the company is seen as having a positive societal impact.

Some environmental CSR initiatives include: 

  • committing to achieve carbon neutrality

  • sourcing packaging responsibly, such as recycled or biodegradable materials

  • utilising solar energy

  • investing in sustainable supply networks

  • preventing pollution

  • exceeding local and federal environmental legislation

  • supporting charitable organisations in areas of their operation

  • reinvesting profits in environmental or community programs

Going beyond box-ticking

Consumers want corporations to minimise their environmental impact and are steadily choosing to invest in businesses that align with their personal values. Consumer expectations are one of the major reasons CSR has become standard practice for many companies. It’s often integrated into their marketing strategy as a way to boost brand power. 

While companies may publicly pledge to do better, there needs to be a greater effort toward fulfilling their commitments and achieving real outcomes. A company might say they’re going to be more sustainable, but unless they make changes to become sustainable, it’s an empty promise. 

Unfortunately, even though some companies are establishing voluntary climate goals and expanding their climate response, it’s easy to fall short of inciting impactful change if the bigger picture is overlooked. 

It’s time to re-focus our intentions and step up with bold, actionable commitments. 

We all need to do better, together.

10 easy ways to kickstart your CSR


How can businesses contribute to sustainability and be good corporate citizens? It may not be rocket science, but it IS climate science. Big business and Small to mid-sized companies have their parts to play – even small CSR initiatives matter.

Here are 10 easy ways to improve your company’s CSR:

  1. Become informed


    Understand the impacts and risks associated with your industry by assessing its current effects on the environment before formulating a plan to respond.


  1. Create targets


    Targets allow progress monitoring so actions can be adjusted accordingly. WWF-Australia can help with this – we assisted seafood retailer John West Australia with their Marine Stewardship Council certification. They became the first brand in the world to secure 100% of Skipjack Tuna MSC certified and since then, more than 80 million cans of John West MSC tuna have been consumed by Australians each year.


  1. Collaborate


    Improve efficiency and scope by teaming up with others. Join the Business Renewables Centre an information hub powered by WWF, ClimateKIC, Institute of Sustainable Futures, and the NSW and VIC governments – with hundreds of like-minded companies – to share technical expertise on simplifying and streamlining sustainable operations, plus renewable, power purchase agreements. 

  1. Embrace transparency


    By making your achievements and challenges visible, you can incentivise other companies and provide incidental opportunities for collaboration. It’s also a great way to build trust with your consumers.


  1. Define your purpose


    Clearly define your company's purpose toward sustainability and make sustainable products your standard practice.

  1. Invest in nature


    Help reverse environmental crises by investing in nature and encouraging your team to sign up to Regenerate Australia. Together we can replant and restore koala habitats lost in Australia’s recent bushfires and deploy innovative projects that seek to future-proof our planet.

  1. Advocate for nature


    Advocate for change by using your influence to reach consumers and educate them in driving sustainable expectations and behaviours. Use your voice to help amplify WWF-Australia’s campaigns on your channels. Our network of Business Champions are active in calling for Australia to become a Renewable Energy Superpower. Learn how you can join them.

  1. Innovate sustainably


    Use Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to propel innovation, which is also a significant business opportunity. WWF-Australia’s Panda Labs brings everything together to make projects happen through the Impactio platform.

  

  1. Embrace new technology


    Innovate with new technology to help you meet milestones. For example, WWF-Australia and BCG Digital Ventures launched the OpenSC platform to help ensure sustainable and transparent supply chains.

  1. Ask for help


    At WWF-Australia, we work with our strategic partners to take action, raise awareness and protect our planet. We’d love to work with you too. Get in touch today.


WWF-Australia Partnerships Facts and Figures

WWF-Australia: Our partnerships

There’s power in numbers and working together is the best way to leverage individual voices, scale up our intentions and act with purpose. 

A partnership with WWF-Australia means: 

  • 15+ years of expertise in advising large and small businesses on climate solutions

  • 20+ years of knowledge in facilitating government and private investment into conservation 

  • 20+ years of working on the ground with Australian farmers and fishers


Here is just some of the work we’re doing with our partners:


Our Partnership with Botanica by Air Wick

Together with Botanica by Air Wick, we have created The Rare Bloom Project™ to protect the 24,000 species of native flora under constant threat from bushfires, pollution and development. In collaboration with the Australian Seed Bank Partnership, we will align to conserve and protect these wild-growing plants and flowers from extinction by safeguarding their seeds into the future. 

Our Partnership with Royal Caribbean Cruises

 

WWF-Australia and Royal Caribbean actively seek to protect the hawksbill turtle by protecting their habitat, breaking the supply chain of and educating consumers on the illegal trade of their shells. By using a DNA database, we can identify the populations most at risk and trace turtle shell products to the location of their poaching. 

Royal Caribbean Cruise Logo

Our Partnership with Koala

 

 

Thanks to the support of Koala, WWF-Australia is working to protect the green sea turtle. Increased sand temperatures around turtle nests caused by climate change have seen an overwhelming majority of turtles born female. This process, known as feminisation, disturbs the natural gender ratio of hatchlings and threatens the species’ longevity. The plan? We’re experimenting with innovative cooling methods including natural shade from palm fronds and pandanus leaves, artificial shade, seawater irrigation and rainwater.


Partner with WWF-Australia – let’s work together 


Why partner with WWF-Australia? Big breakthroughs don’t happen in silos. By harnessing strengths across organisations with the same goals, we can help to Regenerate Australia and achieve conservation goals 

Let’s work together for Australia’s tomorrow. Get in touch today to see how easy it can be. 


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