Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is generally understood to be the way companies integrate social, environmental and economic concerns into their values, culture, decision making, strategy and operations in a transparent and accountable manner. Many large multi-national companies implement a CSR strategy to drive a positive difference to business practices, staff moral and in many cases to benefit their bottom line. But is CSR relevant to a small business?
The short answer has to be yes! Even the smallest companies can make a positive difference to their own business prospects, and also the wider social and environmental community in which they operate. It may be something as simple as supporting a local charity or perhaps looking at ways of reducing the company’s carbon footprint.
Implementing a CSR strategy needn’t be complicated either. Whilst there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach – each company has a unique set of characteristics which make it different from others – some simple steps can help you get up and running.
The first step is to focus on what you want to achieve. Too many causes make a CSR program difficult to manage. You should create a number of ‘goals’ that underpin your effort and ideally they should be ‘SMART’ (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-specific). You should also engage your whole company, whatever the size.
And what are the rewards for the effort you put in? There are a number of benefits to your business, depending on your approach:
Quba Solutions have had a CSR programme in place for over a year now and we have seen a number of benefits. It started with our vision of ‘acting responsibly’ and is implemented by our ‘CSR champions’; a multi-departmental group of employees that drive many of our initiatives that have included introducing recycling to the office, organising charity fundraising events and an office beach clean. We hope that these short-term goals will pave the way for completely changing the approach of the company and its stakeholders, such that we can achieve ISO14001 status.