It’s not enough to focus only on generating profit. Today consumers and employees want more from companies.
With so many options and so many brands vying for consumers' hard earned cash, it's a buyer’s market and we're all looking for ways to hold companies to a higher standard, often aligned to our own personal set of values.
Even future employees are looking beyond profit and success and judging companies on whether they operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues. For many, that’s a deal breaker.
So how do you commit to CSR?
These pointers should give you something to think about and help set you on the way to successful CSR activity:
- CSR should be for everyone – it’s not the job of one person or one team - it should be engrained in your business values and culture and it should be part of who you are (or who you want to be)
- CSR should mean something to your business. Identify synergy with appropriate third sector organisations and learn and grow together. Your CSR activity will be more meaningful if you have a shared vision or purpose
- Consider community challenges and how best to solve them – practical solutions to make your world better are often better than novelty cheques
- Create a lasting legacy, not a failed legacy built solely on willingness to help (everyone loves to paint a fence or soak in a bath of beans, but will it really make a difference? It might do, but consider the preceding points before jumping in at the deep end)
- CSR doesn’t have to result in PR. It’s ok to go under the radar – and a ‘less is more’ approach can be perceived as a lot more credible
- Communicate with your stakeholders internally and within the wider community. That’s not the same as PR. Communication demonstrates your awareness of potential issues affecting local communities – and transparency in addressing (or at least trying to address) those issues
Great CSR is easier said than done and there are many ways to execute - some good, some bad, some awe-inspiring and some truly awful – but where CSR is engrained into business culture and it’s part of who you are, the results are far more likely to bring about positive, lasting, change (even if that does involve a baked bean bath or novelty cheque presentation).
Read more about how the NEC Group are committed to acting in a socially responsible way: http://www.necgroup.co.uk/about-us/sustainability-and-responsibility/