I’ve always been a fairly devoted PC user, but two weeks ago, after soliciting feedback from all of my Apple-savvy friends, I bought my first Mac. And I have to admit, my new Macbook Pro laptop is impressive. The applications are user-friendly, everything is sleek, and the system operates at lightning fast speed. It weighs next to nothing; it is virus-resistant and even my children think it is ‘beyond cool’.
But perhaps most intriguing to me is the very strong way in which the Macbook integrates with Apple’s CSR platform. And as a consumer, I have been engaged by Apple as a partner on that journey – and I feel pretty good about that! My new Macbook is highly recyclable, it boasts a longer-lasting battery, it is more energy efficient and even earned a ‘Gold’ label from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT). By ensuring that their product meets these high environmental standards, Apple has empowered me to reduce my own carbon footprint.
Five years ago, were computer owners even considering the environmental impact of their computer use? Certainly car owners were becoming informed along these lines, but computers seem on the periphery of this movement, to some degree. Apple’s very aggressive campaign signifies to me that the importance of a strong CSR platform has become a standard, no matter the industry. Everything from coffee to make-up, cell phones to pet food are all being marketed with CSR goals and drivers in mind.
Apple serves as a best practices model since they have not only developed environmentally friendly business standards to herald as a selling feature, but the very product that they are selling empowers the consumer to make environmentally responsible choices – watch this commercial
This is the best possible integration of CSR values with a company’s business model.
So what can other business owners learn from Apple’s example?
- No matter the industry in which you operate or the size of your business, you should be thinking about your Corporate Social Responsibility platform.
- Consider whether or not you are manufacturing your product in a manner that considers environmental impact. For instance, can you reduce packaging and use ‘green’ packaging materials? Is your product recyclable? Can you eliminate or reduce the use of harmful toxins?
- Make sure to share your company’s ‘green’ choices with its stakeholder groups as a selling feature. Consumers care about your environmental practices and they should be made aware of your company’s policies and practices.
- If your product or service cannot be ‘greened’, consider what your company can do operationally to reduce its carbon footprint. Can you reduce paper use? Can you encourage ‘remote’ meetings to cut down on business travel? Do you have policies to ensure that computers are turned off? Do you use energy efficient lighting and power sources?