Going 'where consumers are' to advance corporate social responsibility

Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Social networking is providing more visibility to corporate social responsibility efforts.

For the past year, The Timberland Company, which has focused on sustainability since its inception, has been actively reaching out to online communities to communicate its strategies and accomplishments in corporate social responsibility.

In its latest statement at the JustMeans site, Timberland discussed its progress in sustainability with energy consumption, products,  workplaces, and services, with text and videos. Interactive dashboards provide glimpses of tracking data, such as a high-level view of the 15 metrics to helps gauge progress against the company's corporate social responsibility agenda.

Essentially, the site provides what can be considered an interactive quarterly report to help constituents track the progress of corporate social responsibility initiatives -- versus waiting for the annual report at the end of the fiscal year.

Robin Giampa, Timberland's director of corporate communications, says the move to social media expands the company's corporate social responsibility outreach by leaps and bounds. "For years, Timberland has been passionate about the connection between commerce and social justice," Giampa says. "But in the past, we were only able to share our sustainability initiatives with a narrow group of other companies and sustainability experts. But Web 2.0 makes it possible for Timberland to connect with consumers more directly. We go 'where consumers are' – social networking sites like Facebook, video sharing sites like YouTube, blogs and more."

Corporate social responsibility needs to be more than nice statements in an annual report. Employing social networking as part of a corporate social responsibility is a smart approach to bringing these initiatives to life on a day-to-day basis.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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