Cannabis Business Owners High on Corporate Social Responsibility
There’s no question that cannabis products can relieve pain, both physically and emotionally. But despite the global recession, the cannabis business appears to be booming, and along with it, owners are making a lot of money. But they’re not all in it for the profits.
At least that’s what one representative of KOLAS, a Sacramento cannabis dispensary and delivery service claims. KOLAS is always thinking globally, says the rep, but they pride themselves on supporting community initiatives and by raising money and/or providing much needed resources for charitable organizations, plus local events like Concerts in the Park.
But what other ways are cannabis businesses contributing to social justice causes and responsibility? According to a recent article, “the complacent consumer mindset is gone!”
Today, more than any other time in recent memory, consumers are demanding that companies change the way they’ve traditionally done business by becoming ever more transparent in their everyday workings while, at the same time, taking a proactive role in the environment and the community at large.
Enter Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Experts say that with CSR programs, companies can incorporate social and environmental concerns into the very fabric of their business best practices with an end goal not only of making a fair profit, but making the world a better place.
Now that cannabis is spiking as one of the world’s leading industries, “its devastating history for minorities across the U.S. still remains,” or so says one cannabis expert. This means cannabis leaders should now consider giving back to their communities and construct meaningful CSR for all.
Defining Corporate Social Responsibility
Like the name intuits, CSR is a business practice that focuses on environmental and social responsibility and accountability. Or said simply, CSR can come in lots of forms, including philanthropy, volunteering, environmental efforts, and of course, virtuous labor practices.
The Difference between CSR and Social Equity
The term “social equity” is frequently tossed around when it comes to the cannabis business, but some say it’s important to realize that Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Equity are not the same thing
While CSR deals primarily with companies giving back to the community in order to demonstrate their willingness to act as good corporate citizens, Social Equity in the cannabis industry is tied directly to a “Social Equity applicant.” These are said to be individuals who meet one or even several business criteria as listed by their respective state during their cannabis business licensing procedures.
Why it’s a Good Idea for Businesses to Pursue CSR
Experts attest that companies and organizations across numerous industries are presently engineering CSR programs that “align with their business and here’s why:
Heightened Social Investment
Via CSR, many companies are offered the opportunity to communicate their liberal values in a public forum. This is said to simultaneously create “good faith” inside and around their community.
A constant presence in the community can allow for much needed change to be accomplished through such things as company programming, nonprofit investments, and the overall respectful treatment of environment and the society that lives and thrives inside it.
It’s important to note that CSR is good business. That’s because companies that invest in their communities where they do business are seen in a positive light since they are business operations that are willing to give back. And that’s said to be one of the most powerful ways to market to your potential consumer base.
Becoming a Trailblazer
Some business experts believe the cannabis industry in particular lacks community leaders as demonstrated in other money making businesses with similar capital capacities. In the long run this absence will affect the cannabis industry’s ability to contend with other large business sectors.
If you’re thinking about becoming a trailblazer and taking the lead, you will want to consider the following factors:
Assuming a CSR leadership role in the cannabis industry will give you an incredible marketing advantage over the competition.
Cannabis businesses that commit to investing in the community will be the best, the first, and establish a new standard for what’s still a new budding (no pun) industry.
If you invest in CSR now, you will gain a competitive edge over competing companies that are still hesitant to become involved with their communities and environment
The top cannabis companies will, sooner or later, come to realize the importance of CSR. It’s not only a nice gesture to give back to the community you serve and function in, it has now become more or less expected.