Social Responsibility Guide for Start-Ups
5 October 2016 at 8:46 am
A US foundation has produced a new guide for startups on how best to engage with social responsibility.
The guide has been produced by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
The foundation said the Starting with Purpose guide was based on experiences and insights of startups and industry leaders.
“To help bring their social responsibility priorities into focus, startups should begin with a discovery process to identify how their business directly impacts communities and people around them, and the ways their assets can be reimagined to drive social change,” the foundation said.
“And the best starting point for new and innovative organisations is to begin with purpose.
“To translate a company’s purpose into social responsibility practices, we have compiled six strategies startups can consider.”
The six main strategies are:
- cultivate a culture committed to social change
- connect with local communities
- donate or discount products or services to drive social change
- lay the groundwork for a sustainable supply chain
- translate diversity values into practice
- make a public and formal commitment to social responsibility.
The foundation said the aim was to give startups guidance in creating a social responsibility plan.
“To give back to the community, engage employees in meaningful causes, instill responsible business practices in operations, and more,” it said.
“Many startups have more assets at their fingertips and are better able to embark on social responsibility strategies than they may initially realise. As a startup, a company is still relatively small and nimble.”
The foundation said that as companies grow and cultures and operations become more rigid, it becomes more difficult to add programs that do not directly contribute to the bottom line.
“By starting early, startups have the unique opportunity to ‘bake in’ social responsibility and reap the long-term dividends that social responsibility practices can bring to a brand,” it said.
“As companies get started, a grassroots or informal structure can enable them to be responsive to employee interests and get a program off the ground quickly.”
The foundation said the small size and flexible structures of startups also allowed them to seek out new approaches to philanthropy, to create products with social and environmental benefits, and develop responsible business practices that will become part of the company culture or brand identity.