The Financial Times defines Corporate Social Responsibility as “a business approach that contributes to sustainable development by delivering economic, environmental and social benefits for all stakeholders.”

Yes, CSR ought to be a critical component to an organization’s operating ethos, its values, and its purpose. Every organization should be ‘doing’ CSR. Many are doing it exquisitely well. But CSR is not a purpose.

CSR and purpose go hand in hand, though. It’s not always obvious how to identify an issue that matters to your company, and then do the hard work to identify the brand with solutions that matter to all its stakeholders, i.e. employees, customers, shareholders, community, supply chain and the environment.

Making CSR part of a company’s core purpose takes commitment, but it can have a huge pay-off when handled with authentic, sincere, and meaningful programs that are appropriate for the markets in which the brand operates. Companies that can report on their purposeful activities help people understand why the brand matters and can make a company more sustainable.

On this podcast we talk to people from all different kinds and sizes of purposeful companies. The business leaders we talk to have one thing in common: intention.

We have seen that there are many ways for companies to integrate CSR into their business approach. Certainly the method varies depending on organizational size, industry and purpose, but – one thing is for certain – it takes a conscious and concerted effort.

More than half (53%) of consumers believe brands can do more to solve social problems than government. Moreover, more than half (55%) of consumers are willing to pay more for products from socially responsible companies.

When more than 50% of people believe companies can do more to solve social ills than the government and are willing to pay for it, it is clear that employees and consumers are rooting for business owners to use business as a force for good.

I believe that companies and business leaders have a crucial role to play in creating an environmentally sustainable, socially just, and spiritually meaningful human presence on this planet.

A commitment to corporate social responsibility is no longer optional. Companies need to understand that CSR affects their internal and external growth. By creating and participating in CSR initiatives, companies have the opportunity to showcase their core values and create trust among all stakeholders.

What does the world need… and expect? Conscious companies.