Top CSR Trends to Expect in 2022

Over the last two years, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has worked tirelessly to support the business community as they continue to adapt and develop solutions to both new and persistent challenges facing employers, individuals, and families across the country.

Following the immense response from companies at the onset of the pandemic, business was the most trusted institution in 2020 and again in 2021. Customers, investors, and employees alike expect companies to continue to lead as our country works to overcome economic and social inequities, employee burnout, labor shortages, supply chain constraints, climate change, and an ongoing concern for the health of ourselves and our families.

The pandemic has underscored many truths, and the notion that we are better together is one that is here to stay. From rearranging operations to build much-needed masks and ventilators to supporting the vaccine rollout, businesses large and small have formed all kinds of unique partnerships to tackle complex challenges in real time.

Additionally, companies will continue to put the wellbeing of their employees first, as well as build a culture that is driven by an unwavering purpose. At our Business Solves conference this past November, Allstate President and CEO Tom Wilson talked about the importance of not only having a purpose-led culture, but helping employees find personal purpose, as well.

“You can’t be a purpose-driven organization if you’re not powered by purpose-driven people,” said Wilson. “Not only does it help people value what Allstate’s doing, helps them have a better life, but it also builds a stronger organization.”

The pandemic has also accelerated virtual volunteering. Tara N. Spain, vice president and chief operating officer at the Travelers Foundation, and assistant vice president of community relations at Travelers, expects that the shift from in-person to virtual volunteer activities is a trend that will continue into 2022.

“Remote participation has created greater opportunities for both corporate volunteer programs and nonprofits,” Spain shares. “By removing geographic barriers, companies can offer more options, reach additional organizations, and increase employee engagement within the community.”

Over the years, discussions around ESG (environmental, social, and governance) have also gained prominence, and investors are turning to ESG data to decide which businesses to invest in.

“Today, many companies’ value chains are intertwined, catalyzing even more cooperation on addressing common interests in ESG areas such as climate, energy, and water,” said Pat McCrummen, global community impact leader at DuPont. “Shareholder interest in ESG reporting, which reflects the collective impact of suppliers and customers, will rise.”

As we enter the third year of the pandemic, I know companies will continue to lean into their core purpose and leverage their unique capabilities and cross-sector partnerships to meet the evolving needs of their communities and expectations of stakeholders. Our team looks forward to working with the business community to create greater impact in 2022 and beyond.