Corporate Social Responsibility

by Becky Toal and Veronica Broomes

Common questions

  1. What is CSR?
  2. What are the benefits of CSR to businesses such as ours?
  3. How can I persuade the board to continue to support a charity?
  4. What can we do in order to bring CSR into our organisation’s operations, instead of it been additional to our main business?

 

1. What is CSR?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a voluntary initiative of businesses, primarily corporate and multi-national businesses. It can be considered as a organisation’s positive impact on society and the environment through its operations, products and services. This positive impact is a result of interactions with key stakeholders, such as employees, customers, investors, communities and suppliers. While some organisations see CSR as simply philanthropy – a matter of donating cash, time or resources to favoured causes – for others, CSR is at the heart of strategy, policy and processes.

More...

2. What are the benefits of CSR to businesses such as ours?

Our engagement with local schools or community projects will show that we care, not only about our employees, but also about people in a community.

Showing ourselves as a caring company that is not just driven by profits will build goodwill for the company and at the same time it will raise our profile.

CSR fits well with marketing and public relations for the company, and does not have to cost much.

More...

3. How can I persuade the board to continue to support a charity?

The board is planning to stop matching employee contributions to our preferred charity, and staff how are unhappy about the plans. How can I persuade the board that our organisation should continue to support to charity?

  • Consider the organisation’s current financial position and see if there is merit in concerns about finances.
  • Are there other areas of cost that could be reduced or performance that could be improved?
  • Would the withdrawal of funding be for a fixed period or be discontinued indefinitely?
  • Is the organisation’s commitment to funding ongoing or reviewed at the end of each financial year?
  • Can employees contribute time in place of lost finance?
  • Can the organisation honour its current commitment to the end of the present financial year and give the charity due notice of its inability to continue thereafter?

More...

4. What can we do in order to bring CSR into our organisation’s operations, instead of it been additional to our main business?

Consider CSR as having three strands:

  • Financial (ensuring profitability)
  • Social (having a positive impact on stakeholders, such as employees, suppliers and the wider community)
  • Environmental (having a positive impact on the physical environment, including reducing carbon emissions, increasing efficiency in use of water and energy and effective management of waste).

By considering the three main strands of CSR, you can include existing policies and/or actions as part of your CSR strategy. For example, you can cite or consider implementing cost-saving measures with environmental and social benefits, such as

  • Using public transport for travel to work and attending meetings (lowering carbon emissions, fewer car parking payments)
  • Support for flexible working, for both social and environmental benefits (work/life balance, shorter working weeks, fewer desks, less travel)
  • Switching off equipment when not in use (savings on energy bills and carbon emissions)
  • Purchasing energy efficient lighting
  • Recycling printer cartridges and office equipment (reduce waste going to landfill, support charities in fund raising)
  • Supporting employees who want to cycle to work, if your organisation is based in a built-up urban area. This could include providing cycle racks, facilities for showering and access to nationally-available interest-free loans (funding to support such initiatives is available from some local authorities or national programmes)
  • Support for a diversified supplier base, such as local businesses, smaller suppliers or businesses owned by minorities.

More...