CSR in Franchising

CSR in Franchising

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become an important part of an organisation’s activities and branding. Such activities are for the social, economic and environmental benefit of employees, customers, the wider community and the planet, and are being place higher on the priority list of many franchise executive teams. It is important for brands to be good corporate citizens and engaging in activities which are socially responsible and aligned with the brands values and beliefs is for the benefit of all involved.

Research conducted by YouGov Omnibus found that 87% of Australians strongly supported CSR, and the majority of consumer feel that businesses have a responsibility to ensure that their supply chains are ethical and sustainable. Further, it was found that consumers do take into consideration CSR when choosing a brand, especially actions such as supporting charity.

Throughout the franchise industry, there is no doubt that organisations are taking on the advice and doing their part to reduce their impact on the environment, support struggling communities and local charities.

On the environmental front, Chatime recently announced the ‘Project Happy Turtle’ campaign, part of their goal to be free of single-use plastic by 2020. This campaign is in response to feedback from their consumers, who would like to see brands becoming more environmentally conscious across the board. Chatime started small, swapping out their plastic straws for a paper alternative across their 125 locations. The next step is making the move to compostable cups and lids across their network.

Muffin Break has also taken initiative to reduce the impact of their business on the environment, partnering with Closed Loop through their Simply Cups program to encourage recycling of their disposable coffee cups. The installation of specialised coffee cup recycling bins will help reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfill and is part of their broader efforts to remove all single-use plastics from their stores.

QSR franchise Zambrero have been leading the way in their actions as a good corporate citizen. Their annual Plate 4 Plate day aligns with World Food Day and involves thousands of volunteers packing meals to be sent to schools around the world. The initiative operates year-round and donates one meal to those in need for each meal purchased through the franchise. In 2019 over 450,000 meals were packed during the three-hour event, contributing to Zambrero’s goal to end world hunger by 2030.

Fundraising initiatives also play a large role in the CSR actions of Australian franchises, such as tyre retailers Birdgestone announcing a partnership with the Leukaemia Foundation. The ongoing initiative will see $2 for every Turanza Serenity Plus tyre sold donated to the charity. Plus Fitness has also just donated $70,000 to Beyond Blue, raised during their Lift Yourself Up initiative which saw $0 for ever new member in August donated to the charity.

No matter whether it is a donation of time, money or resources, businesses within the franchise industry are becoming more involved as corporate citizens. Launching initiatives, both one off and ongoing to mitigate their impact on the environment or support communities and groups in need is becoming more and more common.

The Role Of CSR In Franchising

The Role Of CSR In Franchising

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a term that was coined in the late 60’s, but has truly come into prominence over the past decade. CSR is a broad term but generally refers to a company’s involvement and activities regarding ethical and social issues affecting the communities they operate within. CSR at its core aims to ensure that companies are held accountable for their social, economic and environmental impact. At first, this began with the philanthropic actions of corporations, but now extends to include changes made to the everyday running of a business that are geared towards a more sustainable future.

When it comes to the franchise industry, lines can become blurred when it comes to exactly who should be making and implementing CSR initiatives. No matter if it comes from the franchisor at a top level, or is built from the ground up by a networks franchisees, any action towards running a more socially responsible business has a positive impact.

Often franchise brands run CSR initiatives on a national scale, and encourage each partner within their network to get on board and represent the cause at a local level. Partnering with a charity leads to increased exposure not only for the franchise brand but for the cause they support, doubling the potential for awareness. A prime example of this is the Poolwerx Swim Safety Initiative to Make A Difference, which aims to prevent drownings by giving every child the chance to learn to swim. If a company doesn’t have a national strategy, many franchisees partake in CSR by investing in their local community. Common activities include sponsoring a local sporting team, donating to a charity or supporting school or club.

You may be wondering why a CSR strategy should be a top priority for a franchise brand, given so many around the world have seen success without one? Well studies have shown that Millennials, more than any generation that came before them, consider real social change hugely important. This generation represents a large portion of the consumer market and actively seek out brands that have meaningful CSR programs. This is further reflected by a survey of online consumers that showed more than half would pay more for products and services if they come from a company that is socially and environmentally responsible.

When creating and implementing a CSR strategy, the first and foremost goal should be to make a positive contribution to society. But this doesn’t mean that this is where the benefits of being a responsible company stop. A well thought-out CSR plan should make sure that customers feel a sense of good for their purchase, knowing they’re helping contribute to a larger cause. Because of societies drive and desire to do and feel good, this can ultimately lead to a healthier bottom line.

For franchise brands in particular, CSR has come to play a crucial role in franchisee recruitment and retention. As more and more Millennials start to invest in the franchise industry, the importance they place upon ethical and sustainable business will become a key factor in the recruitment drive. A company’s corporate behavior gives potential franchisees valuable insight into values and principles that brand practices, and potential recruits are looking to align themselves with like-minded brands.

CSR plays an important role in ensuring that the world’s commercial practices remain ethical and sustainable. Many brands take pride in their CSR initiatives and strive to give more and more back to the community and their businesses grow and succeed. However, whether you are a national franchise network or a single franchisee, CSR should be a top priority for more reason than one!