Consumers have become more aware of their environment, their health and how their choices impact these areas, and they want to patronize businesses that reflect their personal values. Social responsibility is rapidly becoming an important part of business as more consumers look for these programs when choosing which companies to do business with.

Now, more than ever, you need a strategic sourcing partner to help navigate the process of identifying the best suppliers, prices and quality products to meet these needs.

According to an article on Forbes.com, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming mainstream and routinely practiced by large corporations as well as small locally-owned companies. Business owners are reporting that employees are happy to be contributing to their communities. For the most part, their business has actually increased because of their charitable and green efforts.

Hotels are also joining the growing social responsibility trend for businesses in the U.S. An article on the Green Lodging News website highlights how major hotel brands have been embracing these social values to make a difference at their hotel properties, in their communities and beyond. According to the article, MGM Resorts International and Marriott are just two examples of hotel giants leading the way in this movement.

For example, MGM and Cirque du Soleil have united to support the mission of the organization One Drop, which is to promote awareness of the importance of clean water. Meanwhile, Marriott partners with the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity International, Feeding America and SOS Children’s Villages. In 2011, Marriott associates worldwide donated more than $30 million to charitable causes and volunteered $9 million worth of their time.

Major hotel brands are also encouraging meeting planners to blend team building with volunteerism at their events. According to the Green Lodging News article, Katie Brashear, director of public relations for the Westin Phoenix Downtown and Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, works with planners on a regular basis to create social responsibility activities. And Marriott-owned Ritz-Carlton properties offer Give Back Getaways, where guests combine volunteer work with their stay.

Guests want to know what you are doing as an organization to promote a sense of community. Do you contribute to local or national charities? Do you sponsor a little league baseball team or youth soccer event each year? Do any of your employees volunteer in the community?

These choices tell guests that your hotel or restaurant is really connected to the community and sends a message that you care about how your organization is viewed in the community. This involvement also sends a message that you’re interested in more than your own bottom line.

If your hotel or restaurant is considering charitable work, look for a charity that fits who you are. A restaurant may want to consider working with the food bank or an organization that promotes locally-grown food. A hotel may want to partner with the local chamber of commerce, a disaster relief effort or a charity that addresses a local need like a children’s school supply drive.

You can also weave social responsibility into your purchasing decisions. Work with a strategic sourcing organization like Source1 Purchasing to identify and buy from regional suppliers. Many groups are looking at “buy local” initiatives for food and products to support the local economy while also minimizing the transportation costs and carbon footprint caused by trucking items across the country.

Groups like Sysco have regional distribution centers and have identified regional suppliers for everything from paper and linen services to pest control.

Source1 can provide you with strategic sourcing solutions that honor your promise to your guests and elevate your visibility through social responsibility. When guests realize you are aware of their environment and their health, and that you genuinely care and want to make a difference, they will in turn choose your hotel and become a loyal guest.

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