Make eco-friendly choices part of your organisation’s CSR this year

2015 is tipped to be a huge year for discussion on the environment and social good. This coming year brings the continuation of Mashable's Social Good Summit, as well as the United Nations Climate Change Conference, with the goal of a universal agreement on how our nations will combat the environmental issues we currently face.

For businesses throughout the world, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming less of a buzzword and more of an obligation. According to Susan McPherson, global ambassador for Vital Voices and Forbes contributor, CSR is a modern-day business norm, with a trend of more social initiatives being introduced to the workings of upper management over the course of last year.

CSR dovetails with business ethics in many ways, in that they both broadcast a strong message to the public about a company's dedication to ethical standards and consideration for the environment.

Building on the foundations of ethical behaviour

Business environmental ethics isn't a new idea, in fact it is the long awaited arrival of the seed of an idea planted back in the 1980s, with then US Senator Al Gore highlighting our impending environmental challenges. As the sun rose on the 1990s, there was spirited debate on whether a profit driven industry could develop an environmental conscience, sparked by the ideas of Ken Goodpaster and John Matthews Jr.  

Another element of CSR for any organisation to consider, commercial or otherwise, is that evidence supports the idea that consumers are increasingly in favour it. This is shown in the 2010 survey conducted by Do Well Do Good, which showed an overwhelming 83 per cent of consumers thought business organisations should achieve their goals while at the same time benefiting both the environment and society.

The "halo effect" associated with CSR is also a key factor which is hard to ignore. In brief, it paints an organisation in a favourable light in view of a positive act. This phenomenon, first identified back in 1920s by psychologist Edward Thorndike, reasons that if an organisation is seen to excel in one area, they must excel in others. This is especially true of CSR; do well by the environment, and you will be associated with social good in the eyes of the public.

Going green

The Queensland Government offers some helpful tips on how to go green, such as making more ethical purchasing decisions and getting an agency to assess your eco footprint. With the free ecoBiz service from The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, this makes your job a lot easier.

An easy way for your business to show their green side is through environmentally friendly products like Onya's range of conference and promotional bags.These bags are customisable with a logo of your choice, and are constructed from sustainable, strong material in a range of colours fabricated entirely from recycled plastic bottles. Intrigued? Check out our options and see how Onya can bring a smart, stylish and sustainable solution to your business or conference needs.

Organisations can also reward employees who excel with a lasting, guilt-free gift such as reusable coffee cups for that pre-work pick-me-up, or a BPA free drink bottle for a post-work workout. Small gestures like these can play a big part in employee involvement with any environmental awareness scheme you may want to integrate into your directives. 

Good for the soul, but also an advantage in terms of putting into action some of the theoretical and sadly, often empty promises made by businesses for the sake of public relations. By implementing environmentally sound tactics as part of an existing business strategy, you prove your focus is not only fixed on corporate success but on a wider global awareness. For non-profits and charities, personalised eco-friendly products work not to only promote your cause, but assure that your organisation's promotional campaigning efforts don't end up in landfill.