Integrating corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability

Various efforts by Panera highlight good practice in integrating corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability into the business strategy. For instance, Panera practices conscious capitalism, a type of leadership that ensures value to the employees, the investors, the vendors and the customers of the business. The social responsibility of the company is geared towards addressing food security in the community, propelled by initiatives such as Panera Cares that was launched in May 2010 in Clayton. This initiative allows the cafes to function without the use of prices in the menu filed and one is encouraged to give a payment equivalent to the value of service they feel they received. Through the café, anyone in need of a meal is allowed to walk in and is rightly treated despite their ability to pay. Those that are not able to pay are allowed to have a meal and later pay by giving their service.

Irrespective of such practices, Panera could improve their CSR through communication. Communication helps to encourage the consumers to support the company’s motive in CRS (Katavić & Kovačević, 2011). In the event of the barter trade strategy, the company could communicate to the consumers that, with every barter trade they make, the gifts will be donated to poor families or disaster stricken areas.

Another strategy for the company would be to promote ethical sourcing by encouraging its suppliers to remain committed to ethical business practices. Such may include having a policy of zero tolerance on child labor throughout its supply chain. Similarly, the company can encourage its suppliers to practice sustainable business practices in respect to environmental aspects. For example, the company could encourage reduction in the use of plastics for deliveries.


Encouraging innovation and effective management thereof will enable Panera to compete effectively with other entities in the industry. To encourage innovation the entity needs to adopt organizational designs supportive of teamwork, improve its CRM system, and develop its human resources to become a factor it can use to compete. Additionally, having measures such evaluating revenues from recently developed products can help Panera to know whether its innovation efforts have been a success.


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