We spoke to Biologique Recherche’s Co-president, Rupert Schmid, on why brands should be more transparent with their CSR.
If you land on the website of any global brand, you’ll usually find a PDF tucked away in a tab outlining its Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR. If you are not familiar with the concept, it acknowledges that businesses have a responsibility for their activities’ social and environmental consequences. To put it bluntly, it isn’t just about making money these days, and more consumers are choosing brands based on their ethics over other factors.
However, CSR isn’t just reserved for the Nikes and Apples of the world. Small businesses like spas and clinics also play a part in the community around them and need to think about their CSR. It’s actually critical to their survival says Co-president of Biologique Recherche, Rupert Schmid.
“Nowadays, no brand, not just those in the cosmetic industry, will survive if it doesn’t look at its business as part of the social, environmental and cultural eco-system,” Rupert said.
And when Biologique Recherche says something about good CSR, you take notes. It was the first cosmetic company to join the United Nation’s Global Compact Program, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. It has also partnered with American NGO Wellness for Cancer to create specialised face and body treatments for cancer patients and survivors. Internally, it looks after its workers and encourages a work/wellness balance through offering onsite gyms. CSR is having a 360 view of the world around you.
“CSR is dynamic. The real question is not what you are doing, but how do you manage and optimise your interaction with the world,” he said.
We saw a CSR situation play out in real-time last year. Remember the black tiles on Instagram? Many brands took to social media to pledge against racism in response to the Black Lives Matter protests. Some followed this up by championing greater diversity in their business, and it reflected poorly on those who said something but did nothing. This demonstrates CSR is both words and gestures. The latter being the more important.
“CSR is a mindset, whatever the size of your business. If you have the mindset, your guest will feel it,” Rupert said.
Although, as a small business, you don’t need to pledge to change the world to have good CSR. It all starts with one person.
“Very often, we forget that the way we take care of the guest is our first CSR duty, even if it is our daily business. Suppose you consider each guest as a unique person. In that case, offering a personalised service driven by results but also by mindfulness and compassion, your hands will be much more “efficient” and offer something extraordinary to the guest,” he said.
“I believe that what spas are doing is more vital and important than what we are doing. You take care of people. We only offer you the tools to do it,” Rupert finishes.
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