Photo by Matthew Waring on Unsplash

Demonstrating commitment to the betterment of society at large has never been more important. Investors, employees, and clients are all more and more interested in a company’s core values and social impact. With digital, social, and environmental revolutions occurring simultaneously all over the globe, businesses just can’t afford to rely on what’s gotten them this far.

But it’s not all about what corporations can do, and it’s definitely not about greenwashing. Small businesses can — and should — play a genuine part, too. Here are three of the easiest ways they can demonstrate a willingness to do that.

1. Give back, support, and show solidarity

There’s no shortage of ways to accomplish this. You could give a certain percentage of your sales or net income to reputable nonprofits, or match employee donations of the same kind. You could give extra vacation days to people in your organization who volunteer for charity — or host your own volunteer day.

You can also sponsor community-based drives or organizations with responsible causes. The more creative you are with your giving, the more people will likely notice, and the more impact you’ll have all around. 

2. Check — and revise — your supply chain

Making organic beard oil out of your home is all well and good — but what about the bottle it ships in? Do you know where it came from, what it’s made from, and where it will end up?

Think about the companies that provide your merchandise, ingredients, or building materials. Seek to select socially responsible suppliers. These businesses should strive to treat employees well, produce safe products and minimize environmental harm. 

The golden standard here is the “circular supply chain.” For small businesses, that might not be feasible, but there are still steps that can be taken — and make no mistake, everyone who interacts with your business will appreciate the effort

3. Embrace education

There are lots of ways your company can involve itself in the educational sphere, and with the job market undergoing drastic shifts, there’s never been a more valuable time for picking up new skills and knowledge. 

For example, create an employee tuition reimbursement program, or provide a college scholarship to local students. Encourage people to request financial assistance from your company by filling out an application form, or promote local adult learning courses.

The ideal steps toward enhancing your company’s viability and financial sustainability through social impact will vary depending on industry, location and available resources. The point is, it’s no longer an optional consideration; it’s a must-have. Invest in proactively responding to customers’ and investors’ pressures, or risk becoming irrelevant — or worse, actively shunned.