Social responsibility is being redefined – here’s how Medline is adapting
Employees and consumers are changing what it means for companies to be socially responsible
By Francesca Olivier | September 22, 2020
Fifteen years ago, only a handful of schools offered programs in sustainability and social responsibility, and most were so new they didn’t even have graduates yet. To the wider world, corporate environmental efforts were seen as fringe and mostly decorative, and for large, multi-national public companies a social responsibility program was simply a box for them to check.
Today, much has changed. Not only are there dozens of programs but corporate social responsibility itself has taken on an entirely new meaning. It’s about building community amidst unprecedented crises, amplifying the voices of those not heard and advocating for just causes that will move our society forward.
Employees and consumers also care more about what companies are doing to be more social responsible. The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer found that 92% of employees expect their employer’s CEO to speak up on societal issues, and 73% expect a prospective employer to offer the opportunity to shape the future of society in a positive way. Further, the firm’s In Brands We Trust study found that nearly two-thirds of consumers buy based on their beliefs, and 81% agree that “a brand I can trust” is one of their top reasons to purchase. Beyond meeting increased expectations, there are true business benefits to CSR programs – from better business performance, to lower levels of employee turnover, to brand differentiation and loyalty.
In our newly released 2019 Social Responsibility Report you can learn about projects and programs Medline has implemented that reflect the true meaning of CSR, including:
- Our Service Corps, which is made up of employees who have committed to furthering our Global Health, Community Impact and Sustainability efforts. To date, we have over 600 dedicated members.
- Our global health projects, which leverage our expertise in perioperative efficiency, supply chain optimization and health education to help underserved communities around the world.
- Our donation of unopened, surplus supplies to clinics in need. This action has diverted over 116 metric tons of waste from landfills and brought much-needed equipment to organizations providing medical relief.
2020 looks very different from 2019, and as a result, our approach to CSR is changing. We’re taking this time during the global slow-down to reflect on what’s happening around us, including the exposed fragility of our society, from public health, supply chains and even our identity in a time of social and racial unrest.
Some of the ways we’re responding to our communities changing needs is by distributing masks and hand sanitizers and donating funds in support of racial equality following the murder of George Floyd. Looking ahead, we’ll continue to listen to and work within our communities to cultivate real solutions that embody CSR’s new meaning and make a real impact.
Sr. Director, Social Responsibility
Francesca Olivier leads Medline’s social responsibility and innovation strategy. She was named a Top 100 Corporate Social Responsibility Influence Leader. She has more than 10 years of experience developing social and environmental programs in the non-profit, government and corporate sectors. In that time, she has gained experience in areas such as healthcare sustainability, environmental justice and disaster relief. She earned a Master of Science in Environmental Management and Sustainability from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Loyola University New Orleans.