6 inspiring corporate social responsibility (CSR) examples

If you’re looking for inspiration to up your company’s CSR game, look no further than these outstanding CSR examples. The businesses featured here are setting the bar high when it comes to making a positive impact on society through industry-leading CSR initiatives. Read on to discover how these companies are taking on corporate social responsibility.

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What is corporate social responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility is a business model in which businesses acknowledge that they have a responsibility to make a net positive impact on society. These measures can take many forms, from charitable donations to ethical hiring practices.

Examples of corporate social responsibility usually fall into 4 broad categories

1. Environmental responsibility – Minimising negative environmental impact in business practices as well as making an actively positive environmental contribution.

Environmental CSR Examples: This might look like taking stock of where all of the packaging in a business comes from or supporting environmental charities with employee volunteer days or charitable donations.

2. Ethical responsibility – Demonstrating fair business practices and moral principles, such as promoting diversity and respecting the rights of staff.

Ethical CSR Examples: This could be providing enhanced and flexible parental leave schemes or working towards ISO certification or B-Corp status.

3. Economical responsibility – Managing company finances in an ethical and transparent way.

Economical CSR Examples: This might look like setting up profit-sharing schemes with employees or committing to pay scales that abide by industry standards.

4. Philanthropic responsibility – Contribution to charitable causes and community development.

Philanthropic CSR Examples: As you’d expect, this could take the form of a donation. It also might mean CSR initiatives like giving employees time through volunteering days.

The CSR examples below are cases of companies going above and beyond with their commitment to corporate social responsibility, from making a positive environmental impact to treating staff with dignity and respect.

Let’s get to know the companies leading the pack when it comes to CSR initiatives.

Gravity Payments

CSR example: The CEO took a pay cut to raise the minimum company salary for all employees.

Often working at a start-up comes with lower-than-average wages and the promise of equity or increased pay if and when the business reaches a certain level of profitability. This is usually a measure taken by founders to increase the runway of their seed capital.

It’s a risky gamble for employees as lucky startups can make it big, but many fail. That presents a long-term risk to staff of them ever recouping the investment of their time and energy in the business, as well as short-term wage suppression. Not at Gravity Payments.

Founding CEO Dan Price notoriously took a huge pay cut in order for all of the staff at his company to be on $70,000 salaries as the company’s minimum wage.

This is a prime example of how radical economic CSR initiatives can operate to benefit staff.


CSR example: Gifting shoes to third-world countries evolved into grassroots support.

Corporate social responsibility has been woven into the fabric of Tom’s mission right from the get-go, if you’ll pardon the pun. Initially, the key USP of Toms shoes was that for every pair sold, they would give a free pair to third-world countries.

While the intention was good, the company faced backlash over time. It became apparent that providing free shoes wasn’t the most effective way of providing help, with issues arising about the scale of Toms’ intervention suppressing the footwear industries in those nations.

To Toms’ credit, their CSR activities have since pivoted from providing free shoes to giving a third of their profits to grassroots programmes. This ranges from giving grants to mental health support groups to supporting the International Medical Corps.

This is a remarkable commitment to making tangible change through embracing corporate social responsibility, even when it involves a dramatic strategy pivot.


CSR example: Employing ex-offenders to provide second chances.

Timpson is an obvious choice for outstanding commitment to CSR initiatives, due to their legacy of employing ex-offenders. By partnering with prisons and offering job interviews to offenders nearing release, Timpson provides a second chance and a path to societal reintegration.

Their efforts challenge the societal stigmas around employing ex-offenders and ultimately help to reduce reoffending rates by helping ex-offenders turn their lives around after release from prison. With approximately 10% of their workforce consisting of ex-offenders, Timpson’s CSR example demonstrates how powerful a compassionate approach to hiring can be.


CSR example: Enhanced maternity pay.

Accenture leads the pack when it comes to recognising the importance of longer parental leave than the statutory minimum. They offer an industry-leading 36 weeks of maternity leave at full pay, surpassing the UK’s second most generous employer by a full 10 weeks.

This progressive policy not only allows mothers ample time to recover from birth and bond with their newborns but also helps to address the gender pay gap, as the ‘motherhood penalty’ is estimated to account for up to 80% of this disparity. By providing generous maternity leave and shared parental leave options, Accenture is empowering its employees to balance their family and career aspirations without facing undue financial pressures.

The Body Shop

CSR example: An inclusive hiring approach that removes barriers to employment.

The Body Shop has long been a pioneer in ethical beauty products, but its commitment to corporate social responsibility extends far beyond its products. One of the key areas where The Body Shop has made a significant impact is in their hiring practices.

Their groundbreaking Open Hiring CSR initiative aims to remove traditional barriers to employment, such as background checks, references, qualifications and previous experience for entry-level roles. By eliminating these hurdles The Body Shop is giving a much-needed leg up onto the career ladder for people who have faced employment challenges.


CSR example: Low-waste, eco-friendly laundry products that challenge the market.

Last on our list of CSR examples, but by no means least is Smol. Smol is turning the laundry industry on its head with their industry-challenging commitment to sustainability and green marketing.

In direct contrast to traditional laundry retailers who rely heavily on single-use plastics and encourage over-consumption, Smol has developed a range of highly concentrated, low-waste detergents and fabric softeners.

By packaging their products in compact, recyclable materials and offering a convenient subscription model, Smol reduces transportation emissions, minimises environmental impact, and promotes more conscious consumption habits among their customers.

This is another CSR example, like Toms, where corporate social responsibility has been part of the business model from the outset, driving its purpose.

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