What is CSR?
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has come a long way since it was first introduced as a business concept. Once an idea that only appealed to those businesses with an “ethical” focus, today it has become a fundamental part of the process of improving both the bottom line and brand perception. For those in the construction industry, CSR can have a wide impact, from whether your business is able to attract top talent, to whether potential clients and customers want to do business with you. So, now is a great time to get to know CSR and what it could do for your business.
There are many different ways to explain the concept of CSR but, fundamentally, it comes down to this: doing the right thing. The motivation behind it is to follow a process that ensures business is being conducted in a way that is ethical. “Ethical” could take into account any number of different factors, including social, economic and environmental impact, as well as the consideration of human rights. Key to determining the right CSR approach for an individual business is to look beyond only the interests of that business. Taking into account CSR requires that the business also looks at the way what it does impacts on other stakeholders, as well as the community at large.
Isn’t CSR just for multinationals?
The reality is that every business has an impact, whether that’s on people in the local area, on the environment or the lives of those it buys from overseas. So, it’s not just for big businesses to outline a CSR policy, it necessary for smaller companies too. In fact, it is fast becoming something that many clients and customers expect from the organisations they choose to work with, no matter what their size or turnover. A survey recently conducted by the Reputation Institute, a reputation-management consulting firm in Boston, identified Lego, Microsoft and Google as the three top CSR businesses. Lego, in particular had an especially strong reputation for CSR with its transparent business practices and projects such as a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund and Build the Change and Sustainable Materials Center initiatives.
Why invest in CSR?
The bare facts today are that CSR is a necessary part of your brand perception. Strong CSR can protect and enhance your brand and help to attract new clients and partnerships. Conversely, if the CSR just isn’t there then this may raise questions in the minds of those who might otherwise work with – or for – you as to why that hasn’t been a priority. At a baseline level, CSR can help to boost sales and increase exposure to new projects. It can also create a much more positive and well defined working environment which, in turn, will attract people to the business. Plus, it’s a genuine opportunity to find a way to give something back and to make your enterprise about more than just profit.