Beyond their bottom lines, a growing number of companies and brands are harnessing their products, services and resources to help make the world a better place.
One way this is happening is through companies using their products as vehicles to address social problems. For instance, a shoe company matches each purchase with a shoe donation to a child in need. In another, an eyewear company provides eye exam training to men and women living in developing countries. These companies understand incorporating social good into business is increasingly becoming the coin of the realm for companies that want to succeed.
Social Responsibility is Increasingly Essential
Doing well by doing good is not a new concept for business. Historically, social responsibility has been a fundamental key for many brands’ successes in the marketplace. Some of the largest global brands include good citizenship as part of their mission. Larger organizations have more opportunities to globalize these efforts, integrating them into core business functions.
A prime example is MetLife, a nearly 150 year-old company that was recently named by Chronicle of Philanthropy as the No. 1 philanthropic organization among U.S. life insurers. The insurance provider’s goal is to drive long-term financial stability for people and families around the world so they can pursue more from life. They educate and provide access to products in nearly 50 countries for almost 100 million people and support a broad range of programs that help make a positive impact on communities.
A History of Helping
MetLife’s efforts to make a positive impact on society are quite diverse. For example, in the 1930s MetLife Visiting Nurse Services provided treatment for 35 out of every 1,000 policyholders for illnesses such as diphtheria, influenza, smallpox and tuberculosis. The company also launched a program to aid thousands of out-of-work farmers during the depression, eventually putting them back in business and helping them pay off their debts.
Today, MetLife has expanded its corporate responsibility efforts to make a positive difference. Around the world the company is focused on providing financial knowledge and access to people, including those who have never had insurance before. Employees are in on the mission as well. The company has installed dozens of free electric car charging stations at all 14 of its U.S. owned and operated facilities, which has encouraged MetLife employees to drive electric and hybrid cars to reduce carbon emissions.
What the Future Holds
According to Nielsen Media Research, one-third of Millennials (33%) prefer to work for a sustainable company. Once these Millennials enter the work force, they can help infuse their mindsets into a company’s ethos. As this immersion intensifies, corporate America will advance socially, making a positive difference in people’s lives and the planet’s future. Companies looking to secure top talent will need to be even more innovative and far-reaching in these efforts, and the return on investment will impact several generations to come.