Why you should embrace social responsibility in your business

Posted on 27 october 2017

If there’s one thing the hospitality industry has in spades, it’s passion. It comes as no surprise then, that increasingly we’re seeing hospitality business owners embracing their social responsibility and proudly waving the flag for causes they support.

 
Social responsibility refers to a business’s obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. As a Certified B Corp we embrace our responsibility to support the community, proudly championing a number of causes including Opportunity International as well as social matters like marriage equality. We’re constantly inspired by those in the industry repping their social responsibility in all manner of ways; by sharing some of them here, we hope you find inspiration, too.
 
Join the Club
As the number one social issue in Australia right now, marriage equality is literally everywhere. While we can’t all be like Coca Cola and broadcast our support on the biggest and most famous billboard in the country, there’s still plenty you can do to show your support.
The Australian Marriage Equality website currently has a list of over 2,000 businesses publicly supporting the cause. Registered businesses have their logos displayed on the site, and receive digital materials that can be shared through social and online platforms as well as printed for display in-store.
 
Love2
Want to drink beer AND support marriage equality at the same time? The Good Beer Co.'s new Loveallows you to do just that! Off the back of their successful first brew “Great Barrier Beer” which raised over $25,000 for marine conservation, proceeds from The Good Beer Co.’s latest Lovewill go to Australian Marriage Equality’s YES campaign. Available on tap at multiple venues around the country, this beer puts new meaning to the phrase “drink responsibly”. To find out more, or to order Love2 for your venue, go to thegoodbeerco.com.au/love/.
 
Get creative 
For some, showing support for a cause can go beyond a simple poster in the window. Sydney cafe John Montagu took a more tongue-in-cheek approach with their “Yes” menu, featuring meals with the same ingredients paired with one another (think fish tacos with two different types of fish) and the Lemongrass Ginger Black Tea, or LGBT in acronym form.
While rainbow lattes might’ve had their 5 minutes of Insta fame, why not take inspiration from a café in the USA who recently donated $1 from every rainbow “Love Latte” sold during Pride month to the LGBTQ Community.
 
Home grown
We all know the power that the big supermarkets in Australia have over the market when it comes to dictating prices ($1-per-litre milk and 80-cent bread are a few notable examples). But what we don’t often think about is the impact on farmers – those forced to sell their goods at less than what it cost to produce, or to let millions of tonnes of fresh food rot because it doesn’t meet retailers’ ridiculous aesthetic standards. Enter Spade & Barrow, a Victorian-based social enterprise paying fair farmgate prices for fresh produce and selling it for less-than-wholesale prices straight to the hospitality industry - Matt Wilkinson and Guy Grossi, just to name a few. Founder Katy Barfield proudly touts that “not every carrot can be a supermodel” so long as the taste is still bang on. And the ever-growing list of cafes and restaurants joining the Spade and Barrow bandwagon couldn’t agree with her more.
 
 
Responsible Cafes
In a bid to cut down on the number of disposable coffee cups littering beaches and entering landfill, Sydney jogger Justin Bonsey founded the Responsible Cafes movement. The website enables customers to search for cafes that offer discounts to customers who bring reusable cups. Participating cafes get marketing collateral to display including a vintage-style poster and an information sheet, as well as bi-yearly metrics on the benefits of the program and the opportunity to be promoted through various social channels.
 
 
Efforts like recycling, using fairtrade coffee, supporting the local contingent or waving the rainbow of equality are both a responsibility and an opportunity for the hospitality industry. Be it through a window display, menu, signage, events, products, social media or otherwise, supporting social causes might just give you the edge over your competitors and help you feel good while doing it.

IMAGE: NYC Bagel Deli