Cost management, demand from the public and increased stakeholder scrutiny is motivating companies to become more socially and environmentally responsible. Operating businesses in a manner exceeding the ethical, legal, commercial and public expectation.
Corporate social responsibility goes beyond making charitable donations or suggesting staff undertake voluntary work. Whilst working with charities and enabling staff to do a number of days charity work on company pay is an aspect of CSR, a rounded policy should go further.
Responsible Environmental Practices
Research conducted by the Environment Agency shows evidence of an attitude shift. In 2005 25 per cent of SMEs were concerned about the environment and taking action to curb their environmental impact. By 2015 that figure had risen to 58 per cent of SMEs with an environmental policy.
CSR covers global issues; recycling, utilising renewable energy and donating unsold product rather than landfilling it, whilst also considering more localised responsibilities such as bird control services in London and elsewhere. This can include using firms such as http://www.vvenv.co.uk/ and others to ensure that any control measures meet with legislation and best practice.
Businesses implementing sustainable practices report benefits including reduced costs, positive customer response, improved profitability and making them a more attractive employer.
Responsible Supply Chain Management
A CSR policy should be applied across the supply chain and taken into consideration when commercial decisions are being made.
The 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh caused the death of 1,200 low-paid workers and retailers including Marks & Spencer, Primark and H&M became embroiled in a PR nightmare. Customers are not comfortable with companies using suppliers that disregard the health and safety of their employees.
In a survey for Forbes magazine over 75 per cent of respondents cited that one of the benefits of CSR was better employees. Either as a result of being able to attract better talent or their CSR programmes developing better employees.
The health and wellbeing of employees is the cornerstone of a CSR policy. Competitive remuneration packages, a focus on employee stability, and opportunities for training and development, with promotion prospects all improve staff satisfaction and retention.
A comprehensive CSR policy should mean clients want to work with a company. In addition, by operating more efficiently costs are reduced and employees are proud of the company they work for, motivating them to perform at their best.