Causes & Campaigns

Introducing The Issue 

Given the decline of people’s trust and faith in politics, businesses are increasingly expected to use their voice and influence to campaign on social issues and causes. I.e. take a credible stand on issues impacting society today, such as the right to protest, LGBTQ+ rights, the Black Lives Matter movement, abortion rights, climate action, etc.

Describe What You Currently Do 

Responsible 100 has developed a number of introductory questions for both managers and employees. Our short question sets enable these key stakeholders to explore this important responsibility issue, relevant to their organisation, and to begin to describe current practices and views. Please respond with as much relevant information as possible. Nothing you submit will be shared or published without your permission.

Benchmark Performance Statements

  • EXCELLENT - The business may exist to support a specific cause or campaign, which furthers important shared issues in relation to a healthy and/or improved society or environment. (Such positive impact is assumed for all causes and campaigning here for EXCELLENT as well as GOOD and OKAY, but not for POOR.) The causes and campaigns it supports are fully aligned with the goals and purpose of the business. The business uses a strong, clear voice and other resources to champion the cause and will sometimes subordinate its own commercial best interests to the cause(s) where any conflicts arise. The pursuit of the chosen causes and campaigns is evidenced day to day and across the business and its various functions and departments. There is deep involvement of employees and other stakeholders in supporting and furthering the chosen causes and campaigns. New and emerging campaigning issues will be examined, discussed and considered by company stakeholders, and suitable responses will be agreed, within days.
  • GOOD - The business supports causes and campaigns which are well aligned with its organisational goals and purpose. The business uses its voice and other resources to support the cause, but may not be able to subordinate its own commercial interests in support of furthering the cause where such conflicts arise. Causes and campaigns supported by the business are mutually and democratically agreed with employees and possibly other key stakeholders. There is company encouragement and involvement from employees and stakeholders in supporting and furthering the chosen causes and campaigns. New and emerging campaigning issues are promptly addressed and considered by the company.
  • OKAY - The business encourages discussions on relevant causes and campaigns and explores opportunities to lend support. Support reflects or at least considers views of employees and other stakeholders. Efforts are made to identify causes and campaigns that align with the aims of the business. Or the business minimally supports causes and campaigns or supports them on an ad hoc basis when opportunities present themselves. The causes and campaigns are not chosen through a formal process and aren’t necessarily representative of employee or wider stakeholder interests. Or the business explains why this issue is neither relevant nor material to its operations.
  • POOR - The business chooses not to use its voice or influence in support of causes or campaigns which furthers important shared issues in relation to a healthy and/or improved society or environment despite having various opportunities to do so. Or the business jumps on a cause or campaign bandwagon purporting to support a worthy cause for appearances sake and/or for the sake of commercial expediency. Or the business supports causes and campaigns which are detrimental to the environment, to society and/or to the communities in which it operates. The business is aware of the negative impacts of its actions but continues regardless. Employees’ opinions on causes and campaigns are disregarded.

Responsible 100 creates and develops detailed benchmarks on each of the issues we explore. The above reveals only summaries of the current statements describing POOR, OKAY, GOOD and EXCELLENT performance standards. No policy nor practice examples are included here. The complete benchmarks are shared with organisations which, through offering answers to the above questions, help to shape and improve the benchmarks on an ongoing basis. Find out more about our benchmarks here.

Exploring The Issue

As an employee, manager or business owner you likely have certain social, political or economic issues that you keep apprised of and care about. This is the same for a large portion of your customers. Organising your business in ways that support your values can not only benefit the world, but also benefit the welfare of your company.

There are numerous ways to get involved at varying levels. Depending on your preferences, resources and priorities, you can choose to support multiple causes through methods that integrate your beliefs with your business plan.

Additionally, there can be dangers to not remaining aware of current events and how your business may relate to ongoing ethical and political disputes. A company does not always need to involve itself in such causes, but it may be wise to take note of how your dealings make an impact regarding certain issues.

Historically speaking, different campaigns and movements have led the charge in creating large societal changes which affect people on every level of society. Choosing to support or oppose such causes and campaigns can have both positive and negative effects. Taking a side on a highly polarised issue may sometimes alienate customers. That is not to say that this is the incorrect move in every case, just that such a result could be wise to consider when making business decisions.

A recent example of this would be the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine. On 4 February 2022, Russia invaded the Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War that began in 2014. The invasion caused Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War II, with more than 8.8 million Ukrainians fleeing the country and a third of the population displaced. This event had a global effect with many nations and companies decrying Russia’s actions and cutting ties with the nation as a result. Additionally, many businesses have donated a portion of their profits to assist in the crisis.

This event is important for organisations to be aware of and ignoring such an issue could potentially cause detrimental harm to a business’ reputation. For instance, if a business remained ignorant to the fact that elements of their supply chain supported Russia they could face a public outcry and a reduction in customers. Conversely, a business that was aware of the situation could opt to assist in aid efforts. An action such as this could not only benefit Ukrainian refugees but could also benefit the company’s public image, leading to an increase in consumers and subsequent profits.

Ultimately, your values matter. It is within your power to support causes that are important to you, your employees and your customers through your business decisions. Choosing to get involved may not always be the best course of action for your business, but remaining aware of how the actions of your business can inadvertently affect social and political issues is necessary. When it comes down to it, everyone can make a difference even through small actions. By doing so, you can not only support the causes you care about but also support the welfare of your business.

Examples of Causes and Campaigns

Abortion Rights Movement:
The Abortion Rights Movement, or the pro-choice movement, advocates for legal access to induced abortion services including elective abortion. It seeks to represent and support women who wish to terminate their pregnancy at any point. This movement attempts to establish a right for women to make the choice to have an abortion without fear of legal and/or social backlash.

Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM):
An international social movement, formed in the United States in 2013, dedicated to fighting racism and anti-Black violence, especially in the form of police brutality.

Climate Activism:
A global social movement focused on pressuring governments and industry to take action addressing the causes and impacts of climate change.

LGBTQ+ Rights Movement:
A movement to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people can live openly without discrimination and enjoy equal rights, personal autonomy, and freedom of expression and association.

Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill:
A bill in the UK to allow police more control over protests, supposedly with the intent of preventing protests from inhibiting everyday activity.

Right to Protest:
May be a manifestation of the right to freedom of assembly, the right to freedom of association, and the right to freedom of speech.

Roe v. Wade:
A landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States conferred the right to have an abortion. The decision struck down many federal and state abortion laws, and fueled an ongoing abortion debate in the United States about whether, or to what extent, abortion should be legal, who should decide the legality of abortion, and what the role of moral and religious views in the political sphere should be. It was overturned in June 2022.

Climate Activism:
A global social movement focused on pressuring governments and industry to take action addressing the causes and impacts of climate change.


An Ad Hoc Response is a response formed or used for specific or immediate problems or needs.

A Campaign is a planned group of especially political, business, or military activities that are intended to achieve a particular aim.

A Cause is a principle, aim, or movement that, because of a deep commitment, one is prepared to defend or advocate.

A Community is a group formed when geographical location, culture, ethnicity, religion, causes, life circumstances and/or simply personal interests are shared between members.

The Edelman Trust Barometer is a 20 year study on the influence of trust across society — government, media, business, and NGOs — to shape conversation, drive results and earn action.

Greenwashing is Disinformation disseminated by an organisation so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.
Support mean to agree with and give encouragement to someone or something because you want him, her, or it to succeed.

Virtue Signaling is the sharing of one's point of view on a social or political issue, often on social media, in order to garner praise or acknowledgment of one’s righteousness from others who share that point of view, or to passively rebuke those who do not.

Links, News And Further Resources


Why More Companies Are Standing Up On Social Issues - 10 May 2022

Causes and Campaigns are so closely interwoven in to everyday life and it has become increasingly more difficult to stay silent on issues that impact so many people. With that businesses are starting to speak out more frequently on the issues that impact the lives of their employees and stakeholders.

3 Ways Your Small Business Can Make A Big Difference - 18 Mar 2019

There are multiple ways small businesses can give back. This article gives three ways that your company can make a difference no matter the size. 1. Work towards fair wages; 2. Source materials responsibly; 3. Weave your social mission into your story. Following some of these tips can help maximise your efforts.


2022 Edelman Trust Barometer

The results from the Edelman Trust Barometer in 2022 revealed that people list business as the most trusted institution as faith in media and government declines. See their findings here.

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