What is a 'Social Impact Statement'

A social impact statement or corporate responsibility statement (CRS) is a company's account of how its operations affect social and environmental factors in the communities where it operates. A social impact statement might detail a company's charitable giving and volunteer activities, the ways it is reducing its energy consumption, the benefits it provides to its workers and the jobs it has created in communities.

BREAKING DOWN 'Social Impact Statement'

The social impact statement has become very important to companies because corporate social responsibility is a major concern of a vocal group of consumers. As a result of this, companies feel compelled to publicize their social and environmental responsibility initiatives so that they will be perceived positively by the public and by the communities that they operate their business in. It is not enough for a company to sell products consumers want at prices they are willing to pay – companies are now expected to demonstrate that they care about more than just profits.

Numerous public companies now release yearly CRS statements, sometimes called mission statements, in which they outline to consumers exactly what they are doing to help promote sustainability in the communities they live in; these statements are typically released to the media and made available on the websites of the various companies. Statements will typically assess the highs and lows of green programs from the previous year and then outline what the corporate goals are for the year ahead. Goals can include everything from giving back a certain percent of profits or a certain amount of services to a particular community – to reducing the carbon footprint of the company's plants or production facilities.

Corporate Responsibility in action

Consumer products maker Procter & Gamble's statement outlines goals to be achieved by 2020 including: powering all plants with 100% renewable energy; using entirely renewable or recycled materials for all products and packaging; having no consumer or manufacturing waste go to landfills; and providing 15 billion liters of clean drinking water. P&G also listed previously-announced goals that have already been achieved, including reducing energy use at P&G facilities by 20% per unit of production.

On its sustainability page, Amazon.com highlights how it allowed a local Seattle non-profit called Mary's Place to use one of its newly-purchased buildings as a temporary emergency shelter through the spring of 2017 and the impact of its Texas Wind Farm on that local economy. The company also details broader goals, like its pledge to achieve 100% renewable energy usage.

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