4699607Can a business be a good business and still demonstrate a poor record of corporate social responsibility (CSR)?  What is good enough?

I tweeted last week “How is it possible to be awarded The Sunday Times Best Small Company 2013 when only 7% of the entire works force is female?

I also attended a workshop given by Make it Global on the Green Audit; promoting the message that environment aspects should not be considered a burden on business but a guide for all modern good business.  

There are real business benefits of CSR, the UK Small Business Consortium report “88% of consumers said they were more likely to buy from a company that supports and engages in activities to improve society.”  

I propose that corporate social responsibility and business strategy are two sides to the same coin.

The Government Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) define corporate social responsibility as the responsibility of an organisation for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment through transparent and ethical behaviour above and beyond its statutory requirements. 

Following a consultation period in 2013 we await the BIS framework for action on corporate responsibility. This will set out what the UK’s vision, ambitions and priorities are in respect of corporate responsibility and the actions Government, business and wider society will need to take.

Too many businesses view CSR as no more than a statement in the company accounts; through this framework the BIS hope to encourage more businesses to adopt responsible business activities. 

If CSR is a priority for the business, when setting and reviewing the business vision and values this should include the social and environmental ambitions of the business, your business (and environmental) objectives, your target or SMART goals and action plans which include the data gathering or monitoring process.

Colin Powell (former General and Secretary of State under George W. Bush) once stated that ‘people are capable of effectively addressing only one objective at a time. He would not be surprised to discover that companies that support multiple social issues don’t move the needle very far on any of them. Leadership is shown by corporations that focus their efforts on one social issue and align all their internal and external resources with this issue’.

Businesses are expected to construct a sound framework of activities that enhance their responsible business practice. Good business has good responsible leadership, leadership that set CSR as a business priority. The best path is finding your own path increasing the social responsibility and reducing the environmental impacts; with one social issue aligned to the business mission and CSR integral to your business strategy, vision and values. 

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Janice B Gordon: The Problem Solver, Business Growth Consultant, Mentor, Broadcaster and Speaker. Janice support business owners to stay on track to achieve their goals; she runs a 12-week a business transformation programme for ambitious, motivated, small business owners.  Get her FREE eBook ‘How to Stand out from the Crowd’

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