7 Corporate Social Responsibility Programs You Can Copy When You’re CEO

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or executive, how you conduct your business impacts the world. Here are corporate social responsibility (CSR) examples to inspire you.

We know that many of you dream of entrepreneurship or have already stepped forth and started a business venture. In fact, “small business owner” has ranked in the top 3 areas of current employment in our 2016 graduates survey.


As an online university that was founded by an entrepreneur, we know what a difference entrepreneurs can make in the world. Our online university has already made higher education possible to countless people who didn’t have access to it beforehand.


We’re honored to be a part of your journey, and hope you will carry the UoPeople spirit throughout your professional pursuits. To inspire you, here are 7 vastly different companies that are making the effort to make this world a better place.


1) Twitter Sells Wine to Promote Child Literacy


With a belief that success is a combination of making a positive impact on the world, building a successful business, and having fun along the way, Twitter’s leadership announced the launch of its own wine product back in 2010. Every bottle sold under this brand was created to benefit “Room to Read, a nonprofit organization extending literacy and educational opportunities to children worldwide”.


Twitter has a stellar reputation of giving back to communities, but we especially like how involved the organization has been with the wine brand. “Twitter employees have been involved in every aspect of the wine making process, from harvesting to crushing to bottling,” showing that the management sought to make this a “fun and rewarding experience” for its team.


2) LEGO Produces Events that Give Kids a Voice


In 2014, LEGO’s then-CEO, Jorgen V. Knudstorp, was also an advocate for fun.


The company created a Build the Change event, where hundreds of children met sustainability experts, who “presented ideas and solutions available today to spark the imagination of the decision makers of tomorrow, and to let them come up with ideas and designs for the future,” according to the company’s event summary video.


The CEO encouraged the children not to be afraid to make mistakes, and to just focus on having fun. The children had 1 million LEGO bricks to play with, and many tried to implement their visions of making schools more sustainable.


Since the event launch, Build the Change was replicated in several locations, and some children also got to interact with other children from different cultures.


In 2015, the LEGO Group and LEGO Foundation announced a 3.5 year, $8.2 million global partnership with UNICEF to teach businesses how to be responsible towards children, develop a child protection policy inside the LEGO organization, and increase awareness of play’s contribution to early learning in UNICEF programs and government policies, among others.


3) Ben & Jerry’s Creates an Environment and Social Movement


Believe it or not, Ben & Jerry’s isn’t just about making tasty ice cream. The company, which has an entire playlist on its YouTube channel dedicated to its values, makes sure each of its ingredients is ethically sourced and fair trade certified. Ben & Jerry’s buys ingredients from family farmers and makes the effort to ensure that these farmers prosper as the company prospers.


But giving their customers the ability to support a better world by choosing an ethical ice cream isn’t all Ben & Jerry’s does.


The company consistently releases high quality videos supporting a range of social issues, including marriage equality, racial equality and climate justice, partners with other organizations to advance causes, and encourages its customers to become advocates as well – whether it means they sign a petition to keep the world from melting or participate in demonstrations.


4) Pantene Empowers Women to Overcome Social Stereotypes and Reach Their Full Potential


Ever used the hashtag #SorryNotSorry on social media?


This hashtag was originated a few years ago, in a Pantene commercial that encouraged women to stop over-apologizing unnecessarily and start shining strong.


In a June 18, 2014 press release, Pantene announced that the commercial was just the beginning, and it was launching The Pantene Shine Strong Fund “to educate and enable women to overcome bias and/or societal expectations so they may reach their full potential, as well as celebrate the many strong women in the world who exemplify the essence of Shine Strong.”


The fund was created to provide monetary grants to women student leaders who fight gender stereotypes, as well as tools and resources (including online chats with successful women) to help professional women raise awareness and prevent gender bias in the workplace.


The fund also continues previous work Pantene has done through its Beautiful Lengths program, where the company “provides free, real-hair wigs to women undergoing cancer treatment to help them feel and look like themselves and overcome some of the biases associated with cancer,” explained the press release.


5) Marriott International Creates Diversity in its Workforce and Supply Chain


For this large global hotel brand, the change starts at home.


According to Fortune, “African American, Latino and other ethnic minorities make up 64% of Marriot’s 100,525 employees, and 15% of executives. In addition, 2.7% of the hospitality giant’s workforce identifies as LGBT.”


Expect that LGBT number to grow. Not only is “Marriott president and CEO, Arne Sorenson, an advocate for LGBT equality,” according to Fortune, but SocialTalent reported in 2016 that Marriott received a ‘Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality’ accolade when they earned a perfect score on HRC’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index, a widely recognized benchmark for diversity and inclusion.”


SocialTalent also reported that 10% of Marriott’s suppliers are women-owned businesses, but that Marriott vowed “to have 1,500 open hotels owned by women and diverse partners by 2020.” According to Marriott’s own website, that means almost doubling the current amount.


Here’s to hoping that as Marriott’s diversity program continues to grow, the diversity in its leadership team will grow as well.


6) Xerox Manages an Employee Volunteer Program in Local Communities


According to Xerox’s website, the printer and data security company believes that the greatest change can’t come from just donating money or time. It comes from the combination of them both.


That’s why, since 1974 (44 years at the time of writing this article), “more than 500,000 Xerox people [from the c-suite to the factory floor] have been involved in region, community-focused projects,” according to the website. Xerox put its money where its mouth is, and donated over $1.3 million in 2013 alone – and 91.3% of it was “directed to institutions and organizations where someone from Xerox was personally involved.”


The website goes on to share that employees follow in the company’s footsteps, donating a combined almost $800,000 of their own money to social causes.


7) HP Provided Mentorship and Scholarships to 100 Women Students at the University of the People


Finally, we’d like to take this opportunity to say thanks to one of our partners.


In 2013, we partnered with HP to provide scholarships and mentorships by top talent to 100 women, with the hope to democratize access to higher education even more.


This partnership was one of the efforts we took to make our online university more accessible for women. In 2013, only 20% of our students were women. In 2016, women were already 45% of our student population.


You Have the Power to Change the World


Between your employees and business partnerships, and the time and money investments you make, there are many ways contribute to making this world a better place. As a student or graduate of the University of the People, we trust that you have what it takes to make it happen, and we’re always here to cheer you on as you grow.

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