Brands Doing Corporate Social Responsibility Successfully

25 April 2023
Reading: 3 min

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a business concept that refers to a company’s commitment to contribute more positively toward the society and environment beyond its economic activities. CSR may include activities such as philanthropy, environmental sustainability, community engagement, ethical labor practices, diversity, and corporate governance.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Characteristics

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices can vary depending on the company and its industry, but whenever a company strives to make a global impact, it settles for a more or less the same set of ideas:

  1. Environmental sustainability: Global companies can implement practices to minimize their environmental impact, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving energy and water, managing waste responsibly, and promoting more of sustainable sourcing and production.
  2. Philanthropy and charitable giving: Global companies can engage in philanthropic activities by donating to charitable causes, supporting local communities, and contributing more to social and environmental initiatives through financial or in-kind donations.
  3. Ethical labor practices: Companies can ensure more fair labor practices in their operations and supply chains, including providing safe and healthy working conditions, fair wages, and respecting workers’ rights and labor laws.
  4. Diversity and inclusion: Companies can promote more of diversity and inclusion in their workforce, leadership, and corporate culture, ensuring equal opportunities for employees regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristics.
  5. Employee well-being: Companies can prioritize employee well-being by offering competitive compensation, benefits, and work-life balance policies, promoting a healthy work environment, and providing opportunities for professional development and advancement.
  6. Community engagement: Companies can engage more with local communities and stakeholders by supporting community development programs, collaborating with local organizations, and addressing social and environmental issues that impact the communities where they operate and global world too.
  7. Ethical business practices: Companies can uphold ethical business practices by promoting transparency, integrity, and accountability in their operations, supply chains, and relationships with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.
  8. Responsible product development and marketing: Companies can develop and market products and services that are safe, sustainable, and meet social and environmental standards, and avoid engaging in misleading or unethical marketing practices.
  9. Human rights and social justice: Companies can support global human rights and social justice initiatives, such as promoting equality, combating discrimination and injustice, and addressing social issues such as poverty, education, and health.
  10. Governance and stakeholder engagement: Companies can practice good corporate governance, including responsible decision-making, accountability to shareholders, and engaging with stakeholders to understand and address their concerns.

These are just some of the most impactful examples of the various practices that companies can adopt as part of their CSR efforts. The specific CSR practices of a company may vary depending on its size, industry, geographic location, and stakeholder expectations.

Starbucks C.A.F.E. initiative

Starbucks’ Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Program is a comprehensive initiative that focuses on promoting ethical sourcing, supporting coffee farmers, and ensuring sustainability in the company’s coffee production. The main impact is based on the various key components:

  1. Ethical sourcing: Starbucks works directly with coffee farmers to ensure environmentally friendly practices, such as conserving water, protecting biodiversity, and reducing pesticide use. Its initiative is helpful to protect the natural ecosystems where coffee is grown and supports farmers more in adopting sustainable agricultural practices.
  2. Farmer Support Centers: Starbucks has established Farmer Support Centers in coffee-growing regions around the world. These centers provide resources, training, and support to coffee farmers, helping them improve their agricultural practices, enhance coffee quality, and increase their overall productivity and income for the benefit of the company.
  3. Fair Trade and Direct Trade: Starbucks is committed to supporting fair prices and wages for coffee farmers through its Fair Trade and Direct Trade programs. These initiatives help to ensure that farmers receive fair compensation for their coffee, which in turn helps to improve their livelihoods, strengthen their communities, and make a global impact.
  4. Economic empowerment: Starbucks also focuses on more of economic empowerment through its C.A.F.E. Practices program. This includes initiatives to provide farmers with access to credit, support diversification of income beyond coffee, and promote gender equality in coffee farming communities.
  5. Environmental stewardship: Starbucks invests in research and development to promote more sustainable practices in coffee farming, including water conservation, waste reduction, and energy efficiency. The company also collaborates with farmers and local communities to promote reforestation and protect natural habitats, to utilize its assets more effectively.
  6. Certification and verification: Starbucks works with third-party organizations to certify and verify the sustainability of its coffee supply chain. Its initiatives include certifications such as Fair Trade, Organic, and Rainforest Alliance, which provide additional assurance to consumers that the coffee they are purchasing is produced in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
  7. Transparency and reporting: Starbucks is committed to transparency and regularly shares progress on its sustainability goals. The company publishes annual Global Social Impact Reports that provide updates on its C.A.F.E. Practices program, including key performance indicators, achievements, and challenges.

Overall, Starbucks’ C.A.F.E. Program demonstrates the company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility by promoting sustainable coffee sourcing, supporting its farmers, and ensuring environmental stewardship in its coffee supply chain.

Other cases of CSR

Sure, Starbucks is not the only company aspiring to commit itself to CSR. Here are some other examples of the global companies, aspiring to make more of an impact and become socially responsible.

  1. Coca-Cola’s 5by20 Initiative: This program, launched in 2010, aims to economically empower 5 million women entrepreneurs across the company’s value chain by 2020. It provides access to business skills training, financial services, and mentoring to help women succeed as entrepreneurs and contribute to their communities.
  2. Microsoft’s Affordable Access Initiative: Launched in 2015, this initiative focuses on providing affordable internet access and technology solutions to underserved communities around the world. Its goals are to bridge the digital divide and empower people with technology for education, economic opportunities, and social empowerment.
  3. Patagonia’s “Worn Wear” program: This program promotes sustainability by repairing and reselling used Patagonia products, such as outdoor apparel, to extend their lifespan and reduce waste. Its potential expands to repair services, encourages customers to buy used Patagonia products, and provides educational resources on repairing and caring for outdoor gear.
  4. Ben & Jerry’s “Social Mission” program: As a B Corp, Ben & Jerry’s has committed to various social and environmental goals. The company’s initiatives include sourcing fair trade ingredients, supporting family farms, advocating for social justice issues such as LGBTQ+ rights and racial justice, and engaging in community initiatives to promote sustainability and social well-being.
  5. Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan: Launched in 2010, this comprehensive plan sets targets for the company to reduce its environmental impact, improve health and well-being through its products, and enhance livelihoods across its value chain. It includes commitments such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving water and waste management, and promoting diversity and inclusion.
  6. TOMS’ “One for One” program: TOMS, a shoe and eyewear company, pioneered the “One for One” business model, where for every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, a pair is donated to a person in need. The program of the company has expanded its reach to include other initiatives such as providing clean water, safe childbirth kits, and solar lighting to communities in need.
  7. Google’s “” philanthropic arm: is Google’s charitable arm, which supports various initiatives focused on education, environment, economic opportunity, and social impact. The program of the company provides grants, technology resources, and expertise to nonprofit organizations and social enterprises to address pressing global challenges more effectively.
  8. IKEA’s “People & Planet Positive” strategy: IKEA’s sustainability strategy includes goals to become 100% circular and climate positive by 2030, by promoting resource efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable sourcing of materials. It also includes initiatives to invest more in the well-being of the company’s workers and the communities where it operates.
  9. The Body Shop’s “Enrich Not Exploit” commitment: This commitment includes efforts to ethically source ingredients, protect animal welfare, and promote human rights and social justice. It includes initiatives such as sourcing Community Trade ingredients, campaigning against animal testing, and supporting human rights causes such as ending violence against women.
  10. Johnson & Johnson’s “Caring for the world, one person at a time” initiative: This initiative includes efforts to improve global health through various programs such as disease prevention, maternal and child health, and disaster relief. The company also has commitments to environmental sustainability, responsible sourcing, and its employee well-being.
  11. Procter & Gamble’s “Ambition 2030” sustainability goals: the company has set ambitious sustainability goals for 2030, including commitments to reduce its environmental impact in areas such as climate, water, and waste. It also includes initiatives to improve social responsibility more, such as promoting diversity and inclusion, gender equality, and community engagement.


In conclusion, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a business concept that involves companies committing to contribute more positively to society and the environment. CSR practices can include environmental sustainability, philanthropy, ethical labor practices, diversity and inclusion, employee well-being, community engagement, ethical business practices, responsible product development and marketing, human rights and social justice, and governance and stakeholder engagement on a more active scale.

One must never forget, though, that the main goal of any business is to achieve profitability and sustainability. Therefore, all the CSR initiatives should be taken with a grain of salt. Capitalism is not a charity, so whenever the companies engage in CSR, they are most likely expecting to profit on the initiative, e.g., to sway the clients from a non-CSR company, taking the advantage of the public opinion.

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