The Next Level of Corporate Social Responsibility: Integrated Advocacy

by Ximena Hartsock and John Patton

“In order to carry a positive action, we must develop here a positive vision.” —The Dalai Lama

We’re living in a time where advocacy is becoming mainstream. National marches and demonstrations are organized in a matter of days through social media. If you ask members of Gen Z, social and political awareness feels inextricable from their everyday social media experiences—tweets about activism are adjacent to tweets from their friends, comedians, and brands they follow.

As the presence of social activism becomes more prominent in our everyday lives, we’re seeing a corresponding paradigm shift in the corporate world. Brands are evolving from traditional corporate responsibility efforts to committed initiatives that demand legislative change from policymakers.

Companies with a vision to make an impact on the world with their product or service are beginning to integrate advocacy into their overall business strategy. Advocacy is not seen a one-off campaign for these companies— it lives everywhere within their brand and permeates all aspects of the business including product, employee behaviors, events and how they interact with the customers.

Using Grassroots Advocacy to Influence Corporate Policy

By integrating advocacy into their business vision from the top, they are creating an opportunity for their customers to genuinely connect to the core mission of their company. One company that’s embodying this approach is 1 Hotels, an environmentally-minded hospitality brand that kicked-off their first grassroots campaign on Earth Day.

1 Hotels Lives #EarthDayEveryDay

Committed to eco-friendly practices and materials in all aspects of their hotels, 1 Hotels is a mission-driven company looking to transform the hospitality industry. When I visited their New York location this week, I saw how environmental sustainability was truly woven into every detail of their business.

In their Brooklyn Bridge location, guests are welcomed by a sunny lobby where greenery covers virtually every inch of the large space. The hotel also boasts a major stormwater collection mechanism which, in turn, provides irrigation for nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park.

1 hotels earth day

A welcome video in the guest rooms features founder Barry Sternlicht explaining his vision behind the company’s creation. “I wanted to capture the beauty of nature in a hotel and commit to safeguarding it as best I can—a responsibility that I believe we all share. It’s one world.”

Earth Day 2018 marked the official launch of their advocacy program with a campaign aimed at ending the global plastic pollution problem. According to the Ocean Conservancy, by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans. Each hotel lobby was equipped with its own advocacy kiosk where guests could contact elected officials. Across the three locations in South Beach, Brooklyn, and Central Park, their customers sent over 1,000 emails to state and federal officials in just one day.

As part of the continued realization of their mission to create sustained environmental change, 1 Hotels will be looking to raise awareness around key environmental issues and continue to offer guests opportunities to engage and to ask policymakers to become leaders in protecting our planet.

How Will You Make Advocacy Part of Your Vision?

At Phone2Action, we believe that advocacy can be part of our everyday lives. One of our mantras is Advocacy Every Day, Advocacy Anywhere. Whether you’re a newly-minted startup or a multinational conglomerate that’s been in business for decades, we challenge you to join the movement and discover how advocacy can help to push your company to greater heights. 

Are You Missing Out on the Power of Corporate Advocacy? 

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