Step two: Assess existing CSR practices
The next step is to identify how your brewery is making an impact and what programs or practices you’re taking to limit its negative effects and further the positive ones.
Start by tracking your environmental footprint from start to finish to see how much it takes to make a pint or barrel of beer, include all materials, machines and manpower. Next, find out how much product is being donated every quarter for events. Third, ask staff if they are already connected to important causes in the area. Finally, see if the brewery is meeting minimum mandated regulations and where it is performing higher than expected.
From this, you will probably notice that you are already utilizing a few different CSR techniques in your risk-management, marketing, sales and operations.
For newer breweries: Believe it or not, you have been doing CSR activities. How many times have you been asked for product? One brewery that I work with has been open for about six months and receives daily requests to donate product. It is best to start a plan now before it gets even crazier than it already has been.
For established breweries: This may seem like an easy exercise, but really think about all the activities you do in all departments. Ask questions and think about the successes and failures of the last couple of years. This may help develop your future course of action.
Step three: Make a strategy and set goals
First and foremost, your CSR strategy should align and support your business goals and vision for your brewery. CSR functions are tools to help you carry out your goals. For example, if you are a new brewery, gaining awareness may be one of your main goals. You can use CSR to help build awareness through hosting events at the brewery, sponsoring charity events, or collecting items for donations.
Second, pick causes that align most with your brand, operations, community needs and ownership passions. All breweries need to focus on sustainability and the local community. Helping charities from outside your headquarters sounds good, but it also means that your local charities are not able to further the services to the local population.
Third, set goals and measures for your CSR strategy. You cannot define your success or returns on connecting with the community unless you have something against which to measure. By when and how much do you want to reduce energy usage? If you want to help with an environmental cleanup, how many hours and donation dollars are necessary to make the cleanup effort successful?
Finally, set a strategy for 12 months, three to four years, and as long as your vision statement states.
For newer breweries: Focus on community engagement goals the first year, but definitely begin tracking in all areas. Although you may not be able to afford new equipment in the near future that can save on energy costs, seeing your usage and stating a long-term goal of by when you want this completed is very important.
For established breweries: Your culture has already established an identity. Build upon that and engage with your customers on what they are passionate about. If you are already completing CSR activities, determine what you can do to make a bigger impact. Establishing goals on sustainability can lead to savings on operational costs. Goals on community engagement can lead to deeper relationships with customers and higher sales. Employee engagement goals can lead to lower turnover and hiring top-performing talent.