Here at Consortium we often include a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Policy as part of our clients’ marketing strategies. Sometimes dismissed as a fluffy Management activity, a good CSR policy created in-line with your business objectives can bring many more business benefits than just the ‘feel good factor’.
What is a CSR Policy?
According to Wikipedia a Corporate social responsibility (CSR, also called corporate conscience, corporate citizenship or responsible business) is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. But a simpler definition by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in its publication Making Good Business Sense by Lord Holme and Richard Watts, used the following definition:
“Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large”
So basically we are looking at the commitment a company wants to make to its environmental, ethical and charitable efforts and minimizing any negative impact they may have on their community.
The Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility
According to the Better Business Journey, UK Small Business Consortium
“88% of consumers said they were more likely to buy from a company that supports and engages in activities to improve society.”
Why do we need a CSR policy?
Consumers increasingly don’t accept unethical business practices or organisations who act irresponsibly. Advances in social media (giving everyone a voice) mean that negative or destructive practices quickly fuel conversations online. Organisations are accountable for their actions like never before.
Your CSR policy can have formal guidelines for purchasing teams which gives them automation to buying goods and services that are within your companies guidelines. For example buying from local suppliers where possible and only products that can demonstrate their sustainability.
Your CSR policy may include reference to your chosen charity or charities. By formalising your support with your chosen charities, it means time isn’t wasted on ad hoc charitable requests, you can maximise the support you can give and shows the charity how serious you are, and in turn you may be offered more PR exposure.
Also included would be any information supporting your ‘Green Credentials’. As well as buying from sustainable sources where possible, there would also be targets and activity guides for reducing your carbon footprint. This could be taken further with steps for gaining ISO 14001 environmental management accreditation. Many large corporation are now discriminating against companies that can’t demonstrate their environmentally friendliness.
The Business Benefits of CSR
CSR should not be viewed as a drain on resources, because carefully implemented CSR policies can help your oragnisation:
♦Win new business – people prefer to do business that demonstrate CSR, and some even make it mandatory for suppliers
♦Differentiate yourself from your competitors
♦Increases customer retention
♦Develop and enhance relationships with customers, suppliers and networks – Good relationships with local authorities make doing business easier
♦Attract, retain and maintain a happy workforce – employees may be motivated stay longer, reducing the costs and disruption of recruitment and retraining.
♦Employees are better motivated and staff productivity will increase
♦Save money on energy and operating costs and manage risk
♦Improve your business reputation
♦Provide access to investment and funding opportunities -you may find it easier to access finance as investors are more willing to back a reputable business.
♦Generate positive publicity and media opportunities due to media interest in ethical business activities
♦Provide content for your social media and content strategy
So having a CSR policy is no longer a PR exercise but also makes commercial business sense. If you would like help creating a CSR policy for your business please get in touch