Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has come back into stark focus in recent years. Pivotal events such as the passing of the Public Services (Social Value) Act, 2013; Modern Slavery Act, 2015 and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals have all helped move integrating CSR into business models from a ‘good thing to do’ to a legal obligation. It has also increased demand from stakeholders for greater transparency and action.
But CSR isn’t just about legal requirements. Operating within a true CSR perspective means going beyond legal requirements, seeking to engage in actions that further some social good. This means putting strategies in place to create positive impacts, not only on the environment but also for stakeholders including employees, communities and clients.
In the UK, the public sector faces huge economic uncertainty as a result of Brexit. Such clients have begun to realise the potential the Social Value Act has to transform public sector commissioning and unlock additional value from business. And we have started to see this with many construction frameworks and tenders focusing on added value and social outcomes.
“If properly applied, the Social Value Act has the potential to recoup public bodies an additional £8bn per year in “Social Value”, and yet another £3.6bn if including Social Value into their capital – projects budget” – Chris White MP
CSR – Not Just for Big Boys
Generally, CSR is something that we tend to associate with big organisations, but in fact many Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) carry out a lot of CSR without even realising it. In my experience of supporting construction organisations with their CSR however, the approach appears to be an ad-hoc one. I often find that CSR initiatives undertaken are not fully integrated within the overall business strategy and are thus not being used to maximise business benefits and gain competitive advantage.
The potential to maximise business benefits from using CSR as a main strategic framework is huge. It can help you win work, boost your productivity, increase employee and customer satisfaction not to mention increasing the bottom line.
CSR is no longer just for big businesses. SMEs can and do just as much as their larger counterparts and realise just as many benefits – if not more. The fact that many smaller business are ‘local’ means they often create much more local economic impact than their larger competitors. They just don’t realise it.
CSR Funding Support
Project Five are currently working with the National Federation of Builders on the delivery of a programme to help SMEs with their CSR. The CITB-funded project, IMPACT: CSR for Construction, offers a range of support to construction business to assist with their CSR, depending on what stage you are at in the journey and where you would like to take CSR within your organisation.
If you would like to find out more about the IMPACT project, we are running three roadshows across the UK in Manchester (28 February), Leeds (1 March) and London (27 March). Details about the roadshows and more about the IMPACT project can be found at http://csr.construction/
Taking time out and having a ‘CSR strategy day’ can help you discover a lot about your organisation, what CSR you deliver and how it can help your business to grow.
Take our diagnostic
In the meantime, why not take our online CSR diagnostic? The diagnostic has been designed to provide a measure of your organisation’s current CSR maturity and performance. It addresses the four areas of CSR: workplace, community, environment and market place. Upon completion, the diagnostic will provide you with a score indicating your current position and identifying areas for improvement.
We look forward to hearing from you!