Doing Good by Doing Better: Getting Corporate Social Responsibility Right in Hawaii

To do good, you actually have to do something.”  Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia

If you are like me, you pay attention to the places you shop and the products you buy. Happily, we are not alone. 87% of consumers today flex their economic muscle by supporting companies whose values are closely aligned with their own. We “buy local” and support small businesses, we opt for products with less packaging, we choose products with a “give-back” message – and retailers are paying attention.

Companies are not naïve to consumers’ desire to be responsible with their buying practices. They have adjusted by adopting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a strategy to grow profitability by increasing brand loyalty and implementing cost-saving innovations. Companies use an accounting framework called the “triple bottom line” that measures business performance on a broader scale than just the profit margin. It examines and monetizes a company’s impact on people, the planet, and profitability. Over 90% of G250 companies offer CSR reports – a testament that CSR is here to stay.

The business of business is improving the state of the world.”
Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO Salesforce

In a series of Freakonomics podcasts, economist Steve Dubner recently discussed CSR. One facet of CSR specifically resonated with me: CSR may further increase a company’s revenues by attracting more qualified, productive, and loyal employees.

I see the reality of this trend every day in my work with representatives of successful local companies whose values align with our own. As we work to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with these companies, I have been enthralled by the drive, commitment and professionalism that their employees add to their corporate philanthropic mission.

For example, you could walk into any one of Peter Merriman’s restaurants and every employee, from busboy to VP, will actively embody the Merriman’s “do the right thing” motto. The same goes for the giving cultures created by local business partners like Chad Goodfellow’s Goodfellow Bros, Danny Boren’s Skyline Eco-Adventures, and Tim Lara’s Hawaiian Paddle Sports. I’ve seen, through countless volunteer days, that our local employees are the vehicle by which these companies not only talk-the-talk, but walk-the-walk. Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers is one of the fastest growing real estate companies in Hawaii. Again, good companies attract good people, and co-founders Matt Beall’s and Winston Welborn’s philanthropic drive, in my opinion, inspire a holistic dedication to the corporate mission. What a company stands for appeals to customers and employees, alike. Proactive CSR practices and communications are crucial to remaining competitive across markets.

The culture of philanthropy and malama aina (caring for the environment) is strong in Hawaii nei and HILT is proud of, and grateful to, our corporate partners for taking a stand. These alliances create rippling effects throughout our communities, allowing HILT’s conservation message to reach people we couldn’t have touched on our own.  We try to do good here at HILT, and that extra layer of support from our partners help us to do even better. Mahalo piha to our partners and their employees, and even more to our communities who continue to hold us all to the triple bottom line.

If you’d like to learn more about HILT and our partners, visit our Corporate Giving page, which discusses a variety of ways in which we work together to achieve our shared mission of land conservation.

--Angela M. Britten, Director of Development