14 Best Corporate Social Responsibility Examples in 2024 [+Trends]

Download Now: The U.S. Consumer Trends Report
Flori Needle
Flori Needle

Published:

I ran a survey in early May 2024 where I asked consumers if they thought brands should practice social responsibility — 90% said yes.

corporate social responsibility examples

Consumers want brands to make a difference, meaning they care about corporate social responsibility. In this post, I’ll discuss:

Download Now: The State of U.S. Consumer Trends [Free Report]

Types of Corporate Social Responsiblity

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is companies showing care for society and the planet in addition to how much care is shown for their profits and bottom line. It’s corporations making decisions that leave a positive footprint through thoughtful practices and initiatives.

There are four main types of CSR: environmental, philanthropic, human rights and ethics, and economic.

1. Environmental Responsibility

Environmental CSR is when businesses champion environmentally friendly practices, like ensuring physical products are produced sustainably or with sustainable materials, offsetting harmful emissions, and using renewable energy.

2. Philanthropic Responsibility

Philanthropic CSR is charity-based, whether through charitable giving, partnering with charitable organizations, or even creating separate charitable wings of a business. The overall goal of this type of CSR is to better the surrounding world and specific communities.

3. Human Rights and Ethical Responsibility

Human rights and ethical CSR involve practices supporting human rights, such as fair treatment of anyone involved with the business (suppliers, customers, etc.) and following fair trade principles like production methods that don’t rely on slavery and child labor.

4. Economic Responsibility

Economic CSR combines the three types I mentioned above. If a brand says it’s committed to human rights, environmentalism, and philanthropy, its financial investments reflect that. For example, if a brand says it’s working to offset its carbon footprint, its spending would show that it’s committed to environmentalism.

U.S. Consumer Trends Report

Learn how consumers act, how they think, and what they expect now and beyond. Topics include:

  • Purchase habits.
  • Data privacy.
  • Workplace trends.
  • And more!
Learn more

    Download Free

    All fields are required.

    You're all set!

    Click this link to access this resource at any time.

    Corporate Social Responsibility Examples

    Now, I’ll review some examples of corporate social responsibility in action to give you a sense of what it looks like.

    • Texas Instruments teamed up with Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas to give girls graphing calculators and introduce them to coding basics, introducing them to a traditionally male-dominated field.
    • Outfitter Toms donates a third of its profits to charitable causes, like nonprofits that provide mental health resources, and partners with organizations that offer sustainable materials for product production.
    • HubSpot has committed to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, taking actions like making office buildings sustainable with renewable energy and educating us employees about how we can reduce our carbon footprint.

    How can brands be socially responsible?

    Early 2020 brought many businesses to a reckoning regarding social responsibility as social justice issues were at the forefront of conversation.

    Consumer interest hasn’t died out, as 50% of U.S. adults who responded to our 2024 Consumer Trends Report said brands should do more when it comes to social advocacy.

    advocacy-1

    There are so many ways to practice CSR, so a brand's actions will depend on what’s possible for their business. For example, a smaller company might not have the funds to donate revenue to charity, so it partners with local organizations and encourages employees to volunteer.

    That said, there are some standard ways to be socially responsible depending on the causes brands are interested in. For example, brands committed to ethical practices and human rights might:

    • Ensure employees have a safe work environment and are paid a living wage
    • Have product production and supply chain practices that don’t use child labor or forced labor
    • Provide healthcare, wellness programs, and childcare support for employees

    Philanthropic brands might do charitable giving with donation matching campaigns, give back to their local communities, or create opportunities to volunteer.

    I also don’t think you have to choose one type of CSR over the other, especially considering they’re all related. For example, if you’re committed to racial justice, you could partner with local organizations committed to the cause (philanthropy), contract with vendors who share the same commitments (economic CSR), and make sure all of your employees can feel seen, heard, and uplifted at work (human rights and ethics).

    Let’s look at some examples of brands that exemplify social responsibility to give you some inspiration.

    14 Socially Responsible Brands

    1. Back Market

    Back Market combats the tons of waste produced by electronic devices by refurbishing used electronics and selling them to consumers. The business encourages consumers to trade in their used electronics for cash instead of throwing them away and also provides an eco-friendly alternative to those looking to buy.

    2. Warby Parker

    Warby Parker is famous for its at-home try-on program, where customers can try glasses frames at home before committing to a purchase.

    I think its Warby Parker Impact Foundation is a great example of philanthropic CSR, as it works with nonprofits and local community groups to increase access to vision care for adults and children typically underserved for this type of care.

    Its Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program also donates one pair of glasses per pair bought and, to date, has distributed over 15 million glasses.

    3. Ben & Jerry’s

    Ben & Jerry’s is famous for taking a stand on global issues like refugee rights, LGBTQ+ rights, climate justice, voting rights — the list goes on.

    To raise awareness for these issues, it partners with nonprofits to build support with its customers, and the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation regularly funds businesses in Vermont (its home state) and around the country that work to facilitate social change.

    4. Patagonia

    Patagonia is known for its environmentalist practices, like supporting grassroots activists through funding. Its Worn Wear program encourages customers to give their used Patagonia clothing back to the business to be refurbished and resold instead of throwing it away, and Patagonia Provisions makes and sells organic foods that ensure healthy soil, are cultivated under ethical employee conditions, and fair and humane treatment of animals.

    5. Alaffia

    Olowo-n’djo Tchala, Togolese native, founded Alaffia in 2003 with the goal of lifting the country out of poverty. Its cosmetic products are all made by Togolese women, which brings jobs to the local community. It also partners with the Global Alliance for Community Empowerment (GACE) to support Ghanaian and Togolese people by offering maternal care and health education, building schoolhouses for children, and investing in fair trade.

    6. IKEA

    IKEA is dedicated to environmentalism with its plans to use only sustainable materials and recycled or renewable plastic by 2030. The IKEA Foundation also works with NGOs to create employment and entrepreneurship programs and funds environmental ventures around the world, like renewable energy projects.

    U.S. Consumer Trends Report

    Learn how consumers act, how they think, and what they expect now and beyond. Topics include:

    • Purchase habits.
    • Data privacy.
    • Workplace trends.
    • And more!
    Learn more

      Download Free

      All fields are required.

      You're all set!

      Click this link to access this resource at any time.

      7. Merit and FATE

      This is a unique social enterprise, as Merit and FATE are separate businesses that support each other. Merit is a for-profit clothing company that uses 20% of its sales to fund FATE, its sister nonprofit. FATE supports students in the Detroit metro area and assists them with educational needs and college prep.

      8. Allbirds

      Allbirds, a footwear and apparel company, creates its products using natural, renewable, and sustainable materials, demonstrating a commitment to environmentalism and sustainability.

      Allbirds Flight Plan lays out its sustainability commitments that culminate in cutting its carbon footprint in half by 2025 through investments in regenerative agriculture, renewable energy, and responsible energy use. As of 2024, it’s 60% of the way toward its 2025 goal.

      9. Cora

      Cora sells organic personal care products and, with every purchase, donates products and body literacy resources to communities often overlooked in related discussions. 75% of the donations it makes are to organizations that serve BIPOC communities and, to date, has donated 24,000,000 products and diverted 14,000 from landfills.

      10. Loop

      Black people in Black communities pay 70% more for car insurance than those in predominantly White upper-middle-class neighborhoods. Loop, an AI-powered car insurance company, recognizes the disparity and commits to making car insurance more equitable, available, and affordable for people of color, most significantly by only considering factors related to driving history.

      11. Glass Half Full

      Glass Half Full is a Louisiana-based business that collects glassware that it recycles and repurposes into sand and glass cullet. Its outputs help the environment, as the sand can be used for disaster relief, coastal restoration, and eco-construction, and glass cullet can be repurposed into new glassware.

      Since its creation, it has diverted 2 million pounds of glass from NOLA landfills.

      12. Culture Brands

      Culture Brands is an agency with media platforms and consumer brands that engage directly with the African American community, helping people feel seen and engage with content related to their experiences. Because Of Them We Can, one of its platforms, shares content to amplify Black voices and entrepreneurial successes.

      13. Tony’s Chocolonely

      Tony’s Chocolonely is a chocolate company committed to environmentalism and equitable and fair working conditions.

      Tony’s Open Chain sourcing principles outline the business commitments, including paying a premium for cocoa beans to ensure farmers receive a living wage, and CLMRS, which identifies illegal child labor and improves the living conditions for farmers and their families.

      It also helps its customers learn more about chocolate farming practices, as they can trace the entire lifecycle of the bean that made the chocolate bar they hold in their hands.

      14. Accion International

      Accion International’s mission is to build a financially inclusive world by providing economic opportunities to communities often overlooked and left out of financial conversations.

      It provides financial support to low-income entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs of color, and women, in addition to educational resources, coaching, and business networks that can be helpful when it comes to building and growing a business. Since founding, it has reached more than 350 million people across the globe.

      Corporate Social Responsibility Trends

      Corporate social responsibility trends are impacted by factors like generational preferences and changing consumer expectations. The things that matter most to Gen Z might not be as important to Gen X, so as Gen Z increases their buying power, CSR expectations change.

      Below, I’ll go over a few CSR trends I’ve seen recently.

      Transparency

      Consumers want brands to practice CSR, and they want transparency into what measures are taken, and they want to know that brands are following through with their promises. It’s an important trend to be aware of because it can easily backfire since consumers nowadays aren’t afraid to call brands out.

      Data Security

      Consumers think data privacy is a human right and are more concerned than ever about how companies use their data. As a result, a human rights and ethics trend I’ve seen recently is that consumers want brands to have high-quality data security practices to protect the information they have about their customers.

      Employee Wellbeing

      Employee wellbeing has always been a key aspect of CSR, but it’s become increasingly important to consumers that the brands they support treat their employees well. Take Glossier, for example. Former employees created Outta The Gloss to discuss racism and toxic workplace culture, and they received significant support from consumers who participated in their calls for boycotts.

      Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

      Consumers want to support brands that further DEI in their workforce and the greater community. Consumers look for concrete actions, like closing gender pay gaps for internal employees and supporting underrepresented groups.

      New Call-to-action

      Topics: Branding

      Related Articles

      Pop up for DOWNLOAD NOW: THE U.S. CONSUMER TRENDS REPORT THE U.S. CONSUMER TRENDS REPORT

      Learn how consumers act, how they think, and what they expect this year.

        Pop up for DOWNLOAD NOW: THE U.S. CONSUMER TRENDS REPORT THE U.S. CONSUMER TRENDS REPORT

        Marketing software that helps you drive revenue, save time and resources, and measure and optimize your investments — all on one easy-to-use platform

        START FREE OR GET A DEMO