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CSR and its role in the workplace

June 2019Leah

Demonstrating that companies, customers and communities can thrive together is a powerful advantage.

Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR as it’s otherwise known can be broken down into three main categories: Environmental, Ethical and Philanthropic; and is a valuable way for companies to represent themselves beyond the services/products they provide as doing their bit for the local area or for society as a whole. So, think more sustainable initiatives that inspire your staff and stakeholders that benefit others and less of the ‘dress down Friday’ with a £2 suggested donation on Red Nose Day.

Now believe me, I am in no way bashing Red Nose Day or anyone that does get up and get involved; the biennial event is outstanding and unparalleled in the money and awareness they raise to a range of disadvantaged people living in the UK and around the world. The point I’m making is that over time these things have become part and parcel – box ticked, worry about that again in two years’ time.

We need to be focusing on the three C’s from my opening line of which I believe should not only be at the core of all reputable business’ values, but equally that really do embody the whole premise of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Don’t just think box ticked… group pic, tweet sent there’s our bit done. Think companies, think customers, think communities:

COMPANIES: What companies do you use internally? Can you change the way you do business to make a positive change ethically or on the environment?

CUSTOMERS: Who are your customers? What’s important to them and where might they be looking for impact and positive change?

COMMUNITIES: Speak to the people in your team and discover what charities are close to their heart or what local small charities are nearby your business.

 Then better yet, consider what expertise your company and colleagues possess and how you can take advantage of these in your potential initiatives. When companies harness their skills dedicating time and resources towards campaigns which enable them to do what they do best in order to give back, they prove a genuine appreciation of their market, making themselves relatable whilst being proactive in their efforts to offer more to the community.

When you’re standing for something which falls into the three main categories mentioned you immediately have a wider reach as your message is personal to your audience and beyond, giving it relevancy and weight means it resonates and therefore carries. Good or bad.

So bear in mind miss the mark and you could cause some serious brand damage…  It’s important to ensure what you’re doing is authentic well thought out and genuine, not just a marketing ploy as people will see right through you and won’t hesitate in calling you out…

Think Pepsi pulling their ad featuring Kendall Jenner within 24 hours due to public global backlash.

With a wealth of life experience and interests amongst us, I asked the Figsters what their favourite acts of CSR from brands big and small have been over the years.


See below some of our favourites:

EXAMPLES OF FIG-APPROVED CSR:

  1. TOM’s | one for one
  2. Mountain Warehouse | Charity bags
  3. GOBE | Restoring a damaged ecosystem
  4. Innocent Smoothies | The Big Knit
  5. Timpsons | Recruitment Effort
  6. Lush | Environmental commitments
  7. Building Projects Group | A garden for Florence

These are perfect examples of companies that have aligned their company ethos, expertise and marketing with the three divisions we should all be striving to benefit:
Companies, Customers, Communities.

Director of Corporate Responsibility at Intel, Suzanne Fallender’s prediction for the future of CSR is especially relevant to B2B companies, who might feel that their customers aren’t necessarily looking to them to be out on the street placards in hand or shouting about saving the world…

She said:

“I believe we’ll continue to see large companies use their power as customers to drive improvements in responsible business practices through their global supply chains, by setting increased expectations around transparency, holding suppliers accountable for environmental performance and human rights issues, and collaborating on industry-wide initiatives to address system-level challenges from human trafficking to water conservation”

So again, focus on the resources utilised within at how you can work towards and demand sustainability and a positive impact. Showing responsibility and social awareness without a commercial motive will of course better your company image and gain you a competitive advantage through public perception, influence and brand recognition.

In fact according to Reputation Institute’s study on the top 150 companies 2018, 42% of a consumer’s perception of a company is based on the knowledge of the CSR efforts. That’s almost half of your company’s reputation relying on that £2 a head donation… still think it’s enough?

Thanks to social media the world is becoming ever more interconnected and transparent so naturally it’s easy to see how CSR will be the next avenue to building communities beyond your brand. Practising strong ethics to give back and make a difference will naturally attract investors and talent while engaging your employees and being memorable to your communities – and that’s a movement we can get behind.

What is FIG doing to make a difference I hear you ask! It’s a challenge and a balancing act of course for all small businesses, but even if businesses can provide support on a local level, it’s all relative. We recycle at FIG and our carbon footprint is fairly low as we keep customer visits and travel down to monthly or quarterly, employ mainly local staff that aren’t commuting too far – with some travelling in by foot or bike.

As well as this a lot of our work can be done electronically. So it’s easily done from the bottom up when you think about it. We try to support a local charity each year, organising events to raise funds or just helping and they are usually important causes to the staff that make up the team, our customers or the local area; including supporting charities in the past such as Mummy’s Star, Crossroads and Reuben’s Retreat.

We would love to hear about your favourite examples of brands showing a bit of corporate social responsibility and even better if you’d like to tell us a bit about what your company is doing to make a positive impact. | Tweet us at @Fig_Agency and tell us more!

 

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