Neighbourly: Rethinking CSR
Neighbourly is a new UK-based social network that connects businesses with community projects and local charitable causes. Launched in July 2014, it aims to help companies maximise their corporate social responsibility (CSR) budgets and encourage the uptake of 'volunteer days' offered to many employees.
For firms looking to engage with local communities, finding the right local project to support is often a time-consuming and expensive task. Neighbourly alleviates this by providing a central platform where organisations can search for community projects in need of support. They can then pledge volunteer hours or money.
Brands already signed up include British retailer Marks & Spencer, global coffee giant Starbucks and UK electronics retailer Dixons Carphone.
"We know that blasting the nation with zesty communication just doesn't cut it anymore," said founder Nick Davies, speaking earlier this month at an event at the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol, UK. "What Neighbourly allows [brands] to do is look and act local, but scale this action to a national level."
Davies points out that for national firms, building this kind of local engagement can be valuable when unlocking new business opportunities – such as securing planning permission for new stores.
Neighbourly is just one of a host of new online platforms designed to help businesses engage with sustainable initiatives. Earlier this month, 29 global corporations – including Coca-Cola, Facebook and Nestle – formed Collectively, a content platform that aims to engage millennials on issues of sustainability. Meanwhile, last month, a group of global organisations formed We Mean Business, an initiative to promote the business opportunities of a low-carbon economy.
Take a look at Marketing Sustainability for a more in-depth look at the topic of sustainable marketing.