The growing importance of corporate social responsibility in business
In recent years corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a higher priority for companies as they recognise the numerous benefits to their businesses, employees, communities and the environment. Being a good corporate citizen is an increasingly important objective for many successful organisations.
CSR is about much more than philanthropy. As largely voluntary actions taken by businesses to help them become more accountable to stakeholders by providing economic, social and environmental benefits, it can take many forms.
CSR involves going beyond minimum legal requirements on a business to manage the economic, environmental and societal impact of its operations. India was the first country to legally oblige large corporations to allocate spending on CSR. This is discussed in this article later in this issue of Nexia Global Insight.
Businesses increasingly set their own standards and choose activities based on their values. Many have developed their own codes of conduct and best practice guidelines to help programmes aimed at being more socially responsible.
Changes in consumer attitudes have become a key driver for increasing CSR activities as well as increasing pressure from employees who want to work for reputable, ethical and charitable businesses.
Many businesses are choosing to help their local community, support their staff and improve their environmental footprint in order to become a more responsible employer. This can include promoting car-sharing and cycle-to-work initiatives or engaging with local tree-planting schemes. Others encourage employees to make donations to the company’s chosen charities through payroll giving, or provide pro bono services to local charities and not-for profit organisations, and some businesses promote employer-supported volunteering schemes where employees can volunteer in the local community for a specified number of hours during working hours
Delivering the benefits
Being a socially responsible employer can offer numerous benefits for the businesses involved as well as to employees, the local community and the environment, including:
- Boosting employee engagement.
- Creating a positive workplace environment.
- Increasing innovation and creativity.
- Encouraging professional and personal growth.
- Promoting individual philanthropy.
- Attracting and retaining talent.
- Improving public image and brand reputation.
As a result, more and more businesses are realising the importance of CSR and incorporating it into their overall business plan.
Having a dedicated CSR team and structured programme can enable people from all levels of the organisation to get involved. A CSR plan detailing key CSR objectives and various actions to meet these is a useful way to organise activities and help maintain a successful CSR programme.
Nevertheless, the key to an effective programme to help you become a more responsible employer is to be authentic and align CSR activities with your company values.
For more information, contact:
Scrutton Bland LLP, UK
T: 01206 838400