Business Opportunity Identification
Development of new business opportunities from engagement in a CSR program can come from product innovation, customer attraction and reputation, networking, and a variety of different CSR related areas.
Innovation in development of new, or adaptation of current products and services, to new or existing markets, can come through contact with different stakeholder groups.
Innovation is key to maintaining a competitive edge and a sustainable business.
A company that designs, improves and delivers new and improved products and services is the one most likely to thrive.
Engagement through your CSR program with a wider circle of stakeholders – including consumers, NGOs, employees, the community, business partners and investors - can expose a company to new perspectives and understanding of their needs and recommendations. This helps boost innovation and the creation and testing of new or niche services and products.
Developing a greater sustainability profile of a product through the adoption of fair trade, creating a CRM deal or the reduction in energy, packaging material, water, transport or substitution of nonrenewable energy or materials with renewable sources, can increase sales as consumers prefer to support socially responsible products and services.
Consultation, as well as helping product innovation, can highlight fresh insights or perspectives into social issues and changing stakeholder expectations that may affect a business. Being in closer touch with a businesses market enables the development of better informed and more effective business strategies. Heightened awareness of this sort could, in the long-term, provide a competitive advantage.
Businesses, especially those that have good reputations in CSR activities, will seek out companies to work with that have similar values to them.
Engagement and the creation of a CSR policy will increase opportunities to tender for new business and improved reputation and trust will help with its ‘licence to operate’ and can help gain consent for new business activities.
Successfully gaining certification, for instance in an environmental management system, not only improves performance but allows the business to tender and provide services in new areas.
New business opportunities can be gained through increased networking opportunities with suppliers, consumers, NGOs, community groups and shareholders.
Consumers are becoming more selective and sensitive as to a businesses record on social responsibility. A businesses reputation and profile is fundamental in attracting new customers and an increased customer base expands your reputation.
Evidence shows that engaging in a CSR program can greatly enhance a businesses brand awareness and positioning, if quality and price are equal, customers will choose
products/services where a businesses responsibility is evident over others. Increasing a products sustainability profile will help this further.
Being attentive to customers’ needs and expectations through stakeholder engagement and trying to anticipate how your business can respond to them, can increase reputation and add to competitive advantage over rivals.