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Corporate Social Responsibility – Helping your Community

Businesses and communities need corporate social responsibility.

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This time in lockdown has shown us what true community spirit is. The stories of key workers, businesses and volunteers adapting to the Covid-19 crisis, going above and beyond during this time, has been awe-inspiring. As we move into the next phase, the ‘new normal’ as it’s being dubbed, one thing that would be great to see businesses continue to do is include elements of corporate social responsibility and charitable giving in their future communications strategy.

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

All businesses impact their environment at three levels, which make up an organisation’s corporate social responsibility. The basic and organisational levels are, generally-speaking, what all businesses should do as standard. From paying taxes and abiding by laws to minimising any negative effects the business may have on its wider community. The societal level is the one that covers the areas of corporate social responsibility that demonstrate community spirit and support for your target audience and key stakeholders.

CORPORATE ACTIVITIES

Reviewing the corporate activities that your organisation undertakes is a great first step to embedding corporate social responsibility into the day-to-day running of your business. Create company policies that benefit the environment, both locally and nationally – and encourage your staff to be involved and suggest ideas too. We’ve all seen the impact lockdown has had on the environment, so why not put plans in place to minimise your carbon footprint going forward too? Plus, continuing to support our local, and national, community by buying British wherever possible should definitely be something we continue to do in the post-Coronavirus lockdown world.

CHARITABLE ACTS AND PHILANTHROPY

In addition to your corporate social responsibility, you can also include charitable acts and philanthropy in your strategy. The level of volunteering, charitable giving and philanthropic acts during this time has been incredible to watch and be involved in. Are there ways that your organisation can continue to do this? Giving employees the freedom to volunteer through your business, whether that’s providing your services to charities, or allowing them paid annual leave to undertake volunteering in the community. There are plenty of ways to incorporate charitable acts into your business strategy.

GETTING STARTED

A great source of information for corporate social responsibility and how to implement it is BITC – Business in the Community (bitc.org.uk). It has five principles for companies awarded its CommunityMark that you could begin to implement in your business. These principles include identifying social issues relevant to your business and communities you’re involved with, working in partnership with them, and creating mutually beneficial arrangements. Not only will this put you on the right path towards embedding corporate social responsibility into your company culture, your organisation’s dedication to its community will also inspire and engage your key stakeholders including your employees, customers and suppliers too.

Contributing to society has been such an important part for many of us getting through the lockdown and the dramatic changes to our lives. It would be fantastic to see businesses continue to support their communities and incorporate it into their overall business strategy. There have been many elements of this lockdown that I’ll be glad to see the back of, but the community spirit and support – long may it continue.

This article was first published in the Suffolk Free Press, Thursday 14 May 2020.

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