CSR News

What is Social Impact?

Social impact has an indisputable value for corporations. Learning how to implement effective social impact-focused goals and missions can be transformative across your company.
By
Vanessa Poulson
|
11.30.2022
Lorem ipsum sit dolor et sua vous.
CSR News

What is Social Impact?

Social impact has an indisputable value for corporations. Learning how to implement effective social impact-focused goals and missions can be transformative across your company.
By
Vanessa Poulson
|
16.11.2022
Lorem ipsum sit dolor et sua vous.

Nearly all Fortune 1000's have created internal CSR departments in order to facilitate initiatives that positively impact their teams, communities and the planet. In order to get the most out of your CSR initiatives, it is important to understand the broadest and perhaps most universal term regarding a corporation's contribution to societal good: social impact.

In this report, we’re defining social impact, its indisputable value for corporations, and how to implement effective social impact focused goals and missions across your company. 

What is social impact and where did it originate? 

Social impact is when a company or individual helps to create a positive change that addresses a pressing social challenge. 

The term social impact has been used for decades to support philanthropic endeavors. In 1972 Bill Drayton, started a new movement that gave rise to a new socially conscious approach. The ability of one leader to turn a powerful idea into a reality shaped a model of social change that Drayton would later call “social entrepreneurship. Drayton funded 3,000 change makers in more than 70 countries, impacting issues across human rights, climate change, and global poverty. 

Since then, corporations have faced more pressure from consumers, employees, and shareholders alike to contribute to solving societal issues. 90% of Millennials state that they will favor a brand that supports a good cause over competing brands of similar quality and price, and 51% of people worldwide will pay extra for products and services with positive social and environmental impact. 

What can social impact initiatives look like? 

Social impact initiatives may take many different forms depending on the social cause they are aiming to support.

When defining a cause to support, many organizations turn to the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, which are:

GOAL 1: No Poverty

GOAL 2: Zero Hunger

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being

GOAL 4: Quality Education

GOAL 5: Gender Equality

GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality

GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

GOAL 13: Climate Action

GOAL 14: Life Below Water

GOAL 15: Life on Land

GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

Today, popular impact initiatives among corporations include up-skilling communities, skills-based volunteering, and long term sustainability commitments.  Companies establish  definitive goals, budgets and teams to reach these impact goals. 

What organizations are championing social impact? 

The world's largest brands are facing pressure from an emerging workforce to infuse social impact into their strategy. A survey by DoSomething Strategic found that 76% of Gen Z respondents said they have purchased or would consider purchasing from a brand to show support for the issues that the company supported. According to Glassdoor, 95% of job seekers surveyed said that a company’s reputation impacts their decision to apply. 

Here are just a few examples of the world’s leading companies  championing exciting social impact focused initiatives:

  • Adidas has launched various programs and initiatives, including their Pakistan Women Empowerment Program which helps upskill female workers and assists them in finding work. 
  • Disney’s Aspire initiative covers 100 percent of tuition costs and provides support services to employees as they complete their coursework. 
  • Google is committed to sourcing conflict free materials, and achieved 100% renewable energy in 2017
  • IKEA has donated over $200 million to UNICEF, to help support a healthy environment, including access to clean drinking water for children around the world.
  • Lego partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to help source more responsible materials for their toys, and pledged $15 million towards funding to reduce their carbon footprint. 
  • Salesforce hosts the Philanthropy Cloud, providing resources for companies to organize corporate social responsibility initiatives. 

Social impact has completely transformed since its original inception, and there is still plenty of room for growth in understanding how organizations approach their CSR goals and achieve them. As the term evolves, so do the innovations around CSR strategy and the external programs developed to support those initiatives

Supporting Transformative Social Impact Enhances Your Business Capabilities

If you want to learn how to develop social impact focused programs by up-skilling and attracting tomorrow's leaders, talk to us.

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates on the latest in CSR, social responsibility, and corporate leadership news and events.

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CSR News

What is Social Impact?

Social impact has an indisputable value for corporations. Learning how to implement effective social impact-focused goals and missions can be transformative across your company.

Vanessa Poulson
November 30, 2022

Nearly all Fortune 1000's have created internal CSR departments in order to facilitate initiatives that positively impact their teams, communities and the planet. In order to get the most out of your CSR initiatives, it is important to understand the broadest and perhaps most universal term regarding a corporation's contribution to societal good: social impact.

In this report, we’re defining social impact, its indisputable value for corporations, and how to implement effective social impact focused goals and missions across your company. 

What is social impact and where did it originate? 

Social impact is when a company or individual helps to create a positive change that addresses a pressing social challenge. 

The term social impact has been used for decades to support philanthropic endeavors. In 1972 Bill Drayton, started a new movement that gave rise to a new socially conscious approach. The ability of one leader to turn a powerful idea into a reality shaped a model of social change that Drayton would later call “social entrepreneurship. Drayton funded 3,000 change makers in more than 70 countries, impacting issues across human rights, climate change, and global poverty. 

Since then, corporations have faced more pressure from consumers, employees, and shareholders alike to contribute to solving societal issues. 90% of Millennials state that they will favor a brand that supports a good cause over competing brands of similar quality and price, and 51% of people worldwide will pay extra for products and services with positive social and environmental impact. 

What can social impact initiatives look like? 

Social impact initiatives may take many different forms depending on the social cause they are aiming to support.

When defining a cause to support, many organizations turn to the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, which are:

GOAL 1: No Poverty

GOAL 2: Zero Hunger

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being

GOAL 4: Quality Education

GOAL 5: Gender Equality

GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality

GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

GOAL 13: Climate Action

GOAL 14: Life Below Water

GOAL 15: Life on Land

GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

Today, popular impact initiatives among corporations include up-skilling communities, skills-based volunteering, and long term sustainability commitments.  Companies establish  definitive goals, budgets and teams to reach these impact goals. 

What organizations are championing social impact? 

The world's largest brands are facing pressure from an emerging workforce to infuse social impact into their strategy. A survey by DoSomething Strategic found that 76% of Gen Z respondents said they have purchased or would consider purchasing from a brand to show support for the issues that the company supported. According to Glassdoor, 95% of job seekers surveyed said that a company’s reputation impacts their decision to apply. 

Here are just a few examples of the world’s leading companies  championing exciting social impact focused initiatives:

  • Adidas has launched various programs and initiatives, including their Pakistan Women Empowerment Program which helps upskill female workers and assists them in finding work. 
  • Disney’s Aspire initiative covers 100 percent of tuition costs and provides support services to employees as they complete their coursework. 
  • Google is committed to sourcing conflict free materials, and achieved 100% renewable energy in 2017
  • IKEA has donated over $200 million to UNICEF, to help support a healthy environment, including access to clean drinking water for children around the world.
  • Lego partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to help source more responsible materials for their toys, and pledged $15 million towards funding to reduce their carbon footprint. 
  • Salesforce hosts the Philanthropy Cloud, providing resources for companies to organize corporate social responsibility initiatives. 

Social impact has completely transformed since its original inception, and there is still plenty of room for growth in understanding how organizations approach their CSR goals and achieve them. As the term evolves, so do the innovations around CSR strategy and the external programs developed to support those initiatives

Supporting Transformative Social Impact Enhances Your Business Capabilities

If you want to learn how to develop social impact focused programs by up-skilling and attracting tomorrow's leaders, talk to us.

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates on the latest in CSR, social responsibility, and corporate leadership news and events.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vanessa Poulson

As lead of The Impact Report, Poulson focuses on developing Paragon One’s industry insight into the expanding world of CSR, ESG, and social impact.

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