A Distributor Guideline for Corporate Social Responsibility: Striving for Better
We all have some work to do in becoming an organization our parents, kids, communities, clients and employees are consistently proud of. We crafted these guidelines as a manifesto of sorts with distributors in mind as a template for organizations who are also striving for better.
The Four Pillars of Promo Cares
There are four key areas that touch on our industry and they serve as a great framework to map out your own approach to doing better.
- Responsible Sourcing – ensure the workers who make our products are treated fairly.
- Environmental Responsibility – ensure our businesses practices support a healthy planet.
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – ensure fair treatment, access, opportunity and advancement for all.
- Philanthropy and Corporate Citizenship – ensure we’re active participants in the communities where we operate.
Overwhelmed? You don't need to be, like any good journey, it all starts with your first step.
There are two things we recommend everyone does, regardless of whether you are a distributor or a supplier.
STEP ONE: Make Corporate Social Responsibility Part of Your Company's DNA.
- Decide that this is a priority. Let your employees, vendors, clients, and partners know.
- Establish a Social Good Committee or set aside time to plan for your corporate social responsibility efforts
- Be committed to providing fair compensation for employees
- Create a safe and healthy work environment
- Make your Corporate Social Responsibility plans and commitments available online so you customers and partners can see that it's important to you.
STEP TWO: Take stock of what you're already doing.
- Do you recycle paper at the office? Donate to the local hospital foundation? Give old samples to a local shelter? Prioritize suppliers with a give-back component?
- Create a list where you have made progress in any areas that relate to corporate social responsibility. Share the list with your team and ask them for input on what’s missing or what they want to see addressed.
- Write everything down – you might be surprised at how much you’re already doing.
The Four Pillars of Promo Cares - What Do We Mean?
1. Responsible Sourcing: Voting with Our Supply Chain Dollars
- Source ethically, with an emphasis on fair labor practices
- Purchase though suppliers who are CSR-focused and have a working, sustainable CSR plan
- Purchase certified organic, recycled, fair trade and cruelty-free products
- Work with companies that have third party social or environmental certifications like B Corporations
- Educate our staff on product quality/safety, social/environmental compliance
- Be "Product Safety Aware" and take the PPAI Code of Conduct
- Prioritize buying from local companies and mission-driven suppliers
- Sell products that are sustainable and won’t end up in the landfill quickly
2. Give Back: Philanthropy & Corporate Citizenship
- Empower our employees to volunteer for nonprofits aligned with our organization's ethos and social mission
- Encourage employees to join a nonprofit committee or board
- Offer in-kind resources to nonprofits
- Directly contribute a meaningful percentage of income to nonprofits
- Donate samples and stale stock to local shelters
- Offer in-kind marketing resources to nonprofits
- Offer branded gear in-kind or deeply discounted to nonprofits
- Volunteer as a team (distributors + suppliers + service providers)
3. Environmental Responsibility: Reduce your Environmental Footprint
- Develop and implement energy-efficient policies
- Establish a paperless environment
- Turn lights and laptops off and use low use power settings
- Implement eco-friendly lighting and plumbing
- Use couriers with hybrid fuel fleets to reduce reliance on petroleum
- Reduce carbon footprint and/or pay for carbon offsets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Conserve water
- Participate in office recycling and composting programs, reuse where you can
- Rethink packaging by using stack-ability, recycled/recyclable content, and design for reuse
4. Creating a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Environment
- Hire a diverse workforce, including:
- Those with varying ages
- Those with varying backgrounds: cultural, race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation
- Those with disabilities
- Create environments for fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all
- Create environments in which individuals/groups can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. Some best practices for reference.
- Download PPA's Diversity Equity and Inclusion Playbook. Read and act on it.
We hope this template inspires you and your organization to consider how your company can make a meaningful impact on the world by being both profitable and altruistic.
If you’re interested in developing a Corporate Social Responsibility Plan, here are additional resources for your consideration:
- Find out how to use your business as a force for good on this Promocares Podcast
- Consider learning more about the UN's Sustainable Development Goals
- B Lab, the non-profit behind the B Corp movement has created a free SDG Action Manager that you can use as a resource.
- If you would like to measure your impact using B Corps as a benchmark you can also use the free B Corp Impact Assessment to start measuring what matters.