Do your favorite companies promote great initiatives that make you interested in giving back and serving the public good?

Do they sound like this? 

"One pair of shoes sold equals one pair donated!"

"We’re giving back to the community!"

"We’re working to be carbon-neutral!"

Simon Cowell clapping and giving 2 thumbs up.

These are all examples of corporate social responsibility programs or CSRs.

What are CSR initiatives and why do companies participate in them?

Corporate social responsibility is a way that companies give back to improve society. These programs also create a positive association with their brand and can often raise workplace morale. 

A child with glasses pats himself on the back and smiles.

Corporate social responsibility generally falls into 4 categories:

  1. Environmental responsibility

  2. Philanthropic responsibility

  3. Ethical responsibility

  4. Economic responsibility

1. Environmental Responsiblity

As environmental awareness has increased, many corporations are taking steps to reduce their negative impact on the environment.

Man hugging a tree

This can include decreasing company-generated pollution, seeking more environmentally-friendly energy sources, and initiating positive environmental initiatives, like planting trees.

One company with an environmental corporate social responsibiliy program is Lego.

To reduce its negative impact, Lego uses renewable energy to reduce its carbon emissions and is working toward a zero waste goal.

2. Philanthropic Responsibility

Some businesses utilize their resources to benefit charities or non-profit organizations.

David Rose saying,

This can include a monetary contribution or a donation of time and services.

3M and Microsoft are two of many companies that build in time to allow their employees to volunteer.

This includes giving their time, raising funds, and offering services pro bono.

3. Ethical Responsibility

A company’s ethical corporate social responsibility program entails the fair treatment of all the people within the organization’s sphere. This includes their stakeholders, employees, and customers.

Serious woman saying, I will see that they are treated fairly.

Businesses can ensure livable wages, and their products are made from ethical sources.

Kraft Heinz has published a policy that details its efforts to ensure ethical practices throughout its production.

This includes fair labor practices and protection against discrimination.

4. Economic Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility initiatives cost money, and so the final type of CSR is economic responsibility to ensure the budget for the organization's programs.

Bugs Bunny sorting money into different stacks.

Funds can be used for research for other CSR programs, training employees on various topics, or expensive processes that support the organization's CSR initiatives.

Coca-Cola created the Coca-Cola Foundation and allocates a percentage of its profits for grants and other economic endeavors that support its company goals, like empowering women and enhancing scholars.


At the end of the day, corporate social responsibility is a great opportunity for companies to show off their values by putting money and resources toward what is important to them.

Baby looking satisfied and text that reads,

You can do some research to see how your favorite companies’ CSR programs are giving back to society.


Jamie was just hired at a new company that spends three days each year working in their community. They help build houses, volunteer at food banks, and clean up public places.

Two women volunteering to pack brown paper bags with food. Photo by Ismael Paramo on Unsplash


What type of corporate social responsibility is this an example of?

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