Companies are accountable not only for their financial performance, but also for the ways their activities impact on society and the environment. In areas such as human resources and environmental issues, companies already respond to existing legislation and guidelines, nationally and at EU and global levels.
The CBI (Confederation of British Industry) believes that it's important to distinguish between these required performance standards and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities - those which are voluntary, business-driven and often go well beyond what is required by legislation.
If CSR is to develop successfully, it should remain a choice for businesses; voluntary and market-driven. The CBI is concerned that some individuals and interest groups favour the idea of legislating on companies' CSR activities.
The most frequently reported CSR activity is that of large and ‘blue-chip' businesses. There are questions around how SMEs can consider any aspect of CSR in this day and age, when sustainability is about business surviving the demands and challenges of the current financial world.
In reality, Corporate Social Responsibility does have a place and a value within small businesses, indeed it is something which many engage at a local level, by choice. This CSR activity recognises a voluntary commitment to local people in communities and neighbourhoods and is basically about improving the quality of life of local people.
There is also an important secondary benefit to be gained from the impact of local CSR activity, such as promotion and publicity of business and reputation, but more importantly in relationship-building and communication within the market-place with potential customers, clients and employees. CSR activity is a two-way movement.
The CBI offers a range of CSR case studies, mainly from large and nationally known companies. Here are a few ideas for voluntary CSR activities for small and medium sized businesses:
■ Sponsorship - for local sports teams and tournaments; events and celebrations; charitable and health improvement activities; media publicity.
■ Material and service support - transport in local parades and carnivals; scrap materials for community activities; assistance with local community building; environmental initiatives.
■ Leadership and publicity in local appeals and community actions - fund-raising; community voice capturing.
■ Business expertise - joining community and voluntary sector ‘Social Enterprises' as a volunteer business representative, for example in community development and neighbourhood regeneration.
If you want to talk about you, your company and Corporate Social Responsibility, contact Roy Meredith at RoyMeredith@ellis-uk.com who will be happy to help.
Member since: 10th July 2012
Chester word of mouth specialist, promotes and markets the best businesses in Chester. Passionately supporting local businesses, organisations and events.