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Corporate Social Responsibility Trends in 2016

Whatever you think about corporate social responsibility – whether it’s simply a tactic used by organisations to improve their image in the eyes of the public, or a way for businesses to help causes that are genuinely close to their hearts – it remains an extremely important component in many workplaces.

So far, 2016 has been one of the most exciting years to date, with myriad innovations and concepts sweeping small, medium and large enterprises across the globe, but what are the most influential trends to emerge so far this year?

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  1. Climate change

Finally, businesses of every size seem to be galvanizing around climate change. Not long ago, it seemed that businesses were standing in the way of the fight against climate change, but now many are stepping up talks to curb the consequences of the most serious environmental problem facing us today. There are conversations across a range of industries, including industrial, agricultural, technological and everything in between. Even small companies like Fruitful Office, a supplier of fruit to UK offices, are doing their bit by planting new trees.

  1. Social justice

Social justice used to be considered off limits for many businesses, but now even mainstream brands are making their views heard on issues like gay marriage and the use of transgender models in advertising campaigns. Whether it’s through the use of employee policies or public-facing campaigns, brands are now taking the lead in areas they previously would not have touched. In America, this has extended to the problem of growing inequality in the areas where some organisations work, with Twitter recently launching the NeighborNest program to provide support to some of San Francisco’s poorest communities.

  1. Transparency

Businesses of every kind, even luxury brands, are beginning to understand the importance of transparency. There has been a big increase in the expectation of fairness. Customers, wherever they are in the world, do not expect the workers who produce the products they buy to be exploited. Transparency has become an expectation in this respect, with customers wanting to know much more about the origins of the products they buy. Millennials, in particular, expect the brands they buy their goods from to be ethical, open and sustainable.

  1. Collaboration

Now, more than ever before, businesses are beginning to understand just how much more they can achieve by taking a collaborative approach, not just across departments, but also with other organisations. A prime example of collaboration in progress was the unification of multinational powerhouses Nike, IKEA, Unilever and General Motors for a campaign against climate change last year. This is a trend which is expected to develop in the rest of 2016 and into next year.

What are the best examples you have seen of corporate social responsibility in practice? Or in your view is corporate social responsibility just another way for commercial organisations to further their own aims? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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