With Corporate Social Responsibility here to stay, companies are now making it an integral part of their business. By embracing CSR ideas, business is better able to direct policy in areas including workforce diversity, human rights and the environment.
The term corporate social responsibility can itself prove daunting to a small business with limited resources. But a programme does not require large teams or budgets. The business benefits of CSR are varied. On a basic level, CSR helps you comply with regulatory requirements. It can also help cut costs and improve performance, for example by carrying out an energy audit of your building and sealing cracks, draughts and leaks you can reduce your energy bills by 20%.
Here are a few quick tips to make your Corporate Social Responsibility effective.
Align your cause with your business
If your company is in the automotive business it probably doesn’t have the resources to help fix the education system. Use your skills, connections and resources to determine how you can be most effective.
Find a champion
As with any business initiative, social responsibility needs someone to drive it. Appoint team members who are passionate about it and make it an additional part of their role. Their enthusiasm will help to attract others to get involved, but don't forget to make sure you have full support and buy-in from management.
Set clear objectives
It is important to think about what you want to achieve and whether you can practically achieve it. Focus your initiative on what makes the most sense to your business. If you're focus is supporting young people this should be at the heart of your plan, however, if sustainability is an important part of your business, focusing on reducing your carbon footprint is a good first step.
Get employees involved
Involving your employees from the start is key to ensuring success. By making them feel involved they will have a deeper sense of association and a greater willingness to drive initiatives forward.
Promote your initiatives both internally and externally to encourage more activity from other employees and build your reputation. Through using your social media channels (blog, Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook) as well as employee meetings and press releases you can maximise the coverage of your efforts.
Do what’s right for you
There is no right or wrong answer to CSR. Make your targets relative to your business size. Donating time and skills are just as valuable from those businesses with a small budget as those corporate companies able to donate large financial contributions. Make it clear to the organisation you are volunteering what and how much you are able to donate keeping expectations from both sides real.
Here at Business West we are leading by example in all things ‘green’ despite some challenges, including a diverse portfolio of building and office space, not to mention an 18th century mansion as our headquarters!
Some of the projects Business West has introduced are new cleaning systems, new radiators and zone control for heating to enable it to run as efficiently as possible, replacing traditional light bulbs with LED and the installation of electric car charging points. Solar hot water systems with energy efficient tanks, water boilers and dishwashers have results in Business West reducing water usage by 38%.
Staff initiatives have been well received by employees. A cycle scheme, giving staff access to money off new bikes and a car sharing club has resulted in 19% less business mileage claimed.
Find out more how your business can benefit from going green, be environmentally responsible or shout about your achievements through Bristol’s Big Green Week (14 – 22 June 2014) www.biggreenweek.com