Pret a Manger
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Emma Cerrone

Member Article

Socially responsible companies – six of the best

There’s no reason why companies can’t give back to society and make a profit at the same time – in fact, customers are starting to demand they do both.

Providing a solid product or service is only half the battle for customers’ hearts and wallets, but simply adding a feelgood factor isn’t enough anymore. As increasingly savvy consumers make their purchasing decisions, a third element is entering into the mix: is this company socially responsible?

Customers are starting to really care about how a company behaves in the community – this much is is clear from the 2014 Edelman Brandshare study. It found consumers are looking to businesses to fulfil what they call a societal need: “Societal needs extend beyond traditional definitions of corporate responsibility, i.e. charitable donations, and sustainability, i.e. green manufacturing.” 87% of people want meaningful interactions with brands, the study found, but only 17% think they’re getting this today.

Responding quickly to complaints is only one factor here, as consumers are increasingly looking for companies who use their position to drive change in the world. In fact, Nielsenfound that 50% of global consumers are actually willing to pay more for goods and services from socially responsible companies that give back to society. Especially the millennials generation is hungry for a more meaningful connection to brands. They’re looking for true dedication to the community, and most of all, proof that a company genuinely cares about other things than just itself.

Giving back to society and being socially responsible is at the heart of our one_for1 model at Freeformers and we’re always celebrating product and service brands that are doing good. Here’s our latest list of inspirational favourites – some of which are using their global scale to make a heartwarming impact on the societies in which they operate. High Fives guys.

Pret a Manger

Every night, sandwich chain Pret loads its leftovers onto little lorries, taking them to donate to homeless people. 2.7 million products were donated from Pret in 2013, many via the company’s own fleet of bio-methane and propane vehicles which deliver 27,000 items to London shelters every week. Battling homelessness is the key focus of the Pret Foundation Trust, which also includes and an apprentice scheme to get homeless people back on their feet.

Salesforce.com

While each Salesforce.com employee gets six paid days off to do community work every year, most of the social work done by the Software-as-a-Service trailblazer is based on its technology expertise. The Salesforce.com Foundation provides improvement grants, as well as free or discounted technology to non-profits. The Foundation also works with communities to more effectively achieve their social change missions, by paying for the development of technology solutions.

Innocent

Emergency hunger aid is one part of the focus at smoothie experts Innocent, but long-term relief is the goal for most of the group’s funding efforts. The Innocent Foundation has been supporting sustainable agriculture projects since the company started in 2004, helping projects to get off the ground everywhere from Costa Rica to Kenya to India. Innocent’s efforts are based on the belief that sustainability is secured when communities can get the most from their natural resources.

Dulux

Colour is the business of major paint brand Dulux, which donates paint to brighten lives, quite literally. 200,000 people in the UK benefited from Dulux’s Let’s Colour project in 2013, as the company provided paint to schools, community centres, sports clubs and charities. Cheerful murals have sprung up from Cornwall to Brighton, as volunteers got together to create community art. Globally, Dulux has provided over half a million litres of paint to revitalise run-down neighbourhoods from Rio to Jodhpur.

Intellinet

A long-standing commitment to supporting the non-profit initiative of each employee isn’t just fulfilling a mandate for social good, but it’s also made management consultancy and technology services expert Intellinet is a great place to work. “By having a service-based mission and purpose, it’s allowed us to attract a mission-based person. Our employees value the mindset and it shows in their passionate work ethic and dedication to our clients,” Intellinet president Mark Seeley told ‘Inc’. The company dedicates time to helping selected charity organisations all over the world, and also donates a share of its profits.

Liz Earle

Natural products which are not tested on animals makes skincare brand Liz Earle an ethical winner, even before adding that the products are made locally on the Isle of Wight. Five years ago, Liz Earle established LiveTwice, a “second chance” charity aiming to break the cycle of poverty, abuse and unemployment. Projects include Noah’s House, which provides respite care to disabled children, and Choices Community Trust, whose training programmes help people get into work.

Blog by Emma Cerrone. Emma co-founded Freeformers to help companies embrace digital and help young lives at the same time.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Emma Cerrone .

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