A Responsible Purpose – What Is Corporate Social Responsibility?
By Guy Rigby, Head of Entrepreneurs at Smith & Williamson
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the deliberate inclusion of the public interest in business decision making. It is about contributing and giving back to the wider world through local or global initiatives. It is also about considering and measuring a ‘triple bottom line’ (also TBL or 3BL) that includes Profit, People and Planet, a phrase coined by founder of SustainAbility consultancy, John Elkington.
A TBL involves measuring how environmentally, socially and financially responsible a company is over time. This enables businesses to:
- gain a truer understanding of the full cost of doing business
- focus more attention on the areas that are being measured and monitored
- become known as a company that cares.
It is the erosion of public trust and confidence that has propelled the cause of Corporate Social Responsibility into the mainstream. Corporate malpractice and exploitation, child labour scandals, childhood obesity, environmental disasters and a host of other issues have all led to a sceptical and questioning public, resulting in companies having to do more to protect and manage their reputations.
Businesses that embrace CSR can boost both their reputations and their profits. By acting in the best interests of the wider community or by supporting local projects, businesses can have a big and positive impact. This will be rewarded in terms of positive PR, happier and more loyal staff, better relationships with suppliers and partners and, ultimately, more customers and profits.
You reap what you sow, so efforts to implement CSR in your business should not become an... continued on page two >