A blog about education technology, teaching, learning, and startups

Do Startups Need CSR?

Considering your social responsibility early

Many people may not be very familiar with the term– corporate social responsibility (CSR). What is it? Why no matter which industry they are in, big companies have their own CSR. Do startups need CSR? Today, I’m going to discuss a little bit about it.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

According to Coombs & Holladay (2011), “Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the voluntary actions that a corporation implements as it pursues its mission and fulfills its perceived obligations to stakeholders, including employees, communities, the environment, and society as a whole.” (Coombs & Holladay, 2011)

Companies in different industries may have various CSR initiatives and activities targeting different areas. For example, International Paper focuses more on sustainability, Disney has a focus on community engagement and Avon has a focus on strengthening women. However, this doesn’t mean a company will be limited to one CSR focus. Companies may apply several CSR initiatives when they have the interest and ability to manage them.

Why companies do that?

Coombs & Holladay (2011) brought the benefit of CSR in two aspects—benefits for corporations and benefit for society. For corporations, CSR would enhance the reputation of the company which helps gain stakeholder supports, and at the meantime, reduces business costs. Also, “society benefits when corporations take responsibility for their actions and impacts on society.” (Coombs & Holladay, 2011)

Do startups need CSR?

CSR is not necessary for startups because all their focus should be in building up the company and establish a reputation first within their respective industry. However, considering CSR initiatives early is strongly recommended for entrepreneurs because once a startup gains traction and becomes recognized in the public, having a CSR can further enhance and market your company’s brand while also providing “benefits for the rest of society”. Just remember to keep your CSR idea in accordance with your company’s mission. That way, when your business expands and there is a want to improve the company’s reputation, you’ll be ready to go ahead and launch and manage it.

CSR may not bring you direct turnovers, but it may improve your reputation and build trust between your company and all your stakeholders (customers, investors, media, government, business partners, etc). Here is the Global RepTrak 100. Go check the top 100 companies’ websites and generate your idea of CSR initiative.

More information about CSR


LinkedIn Groups

Note: Coombs, W. Timothy, and Sherry J. Holladay. Managing Corporate Social Responsibility: A Communication Approach. Wiley. com, 2011.

Picture source: