It is that time of year when charitable giving and thinking of those less fortunate gets the most prominence but a CSR policy is not just for Christmas, it is for the entire year and is something that every organisation large and small should consider.
Many companies realise that they don’t have to do something extra to be socially responsible. In some cases it can mean changing existing practices to be more ethical and aware of how your business practices affect the community and ultimately the world around you.
- This can be as simple as recycling waste or reducing the number of printers in the office, both of which has an added benefit to the business also.
- It can also mean helping employees with their own charitable giving by providing them with bins to donate clothing and other second hand goods to charity.
- Often it can mean allowing employees to take the lead and encouraging them to be individually responsible by organising charity collection days in the workplace, or as in the case of Sage, allowing the staff to choose the charity that the business will help that year.
When I started working at Sage Ireland one thing that struck me was how social responsibility is an integral part of the everyday business operation. Sage Ireland finalised its CSR policy in 2010 and since then the CSR team within Sage has been working to fulfil their objectives.
Maurice Whelan who has executive responsibility for the CSR initiative in Sage explained that the Sage CSR policy includes initiatives related to the environment, the community and the workplace.
These include using local suppliers to support Irish jobs and minimise the carbon cost on deliveries and sourcing from ethically sound providers such as Rackspace who plant tress to offset the carbon cost of their servers in their data centre.
- Every year Sage sends out a digital e-card and gives the money that they save on printing and postage to that years chosen charity.
- Sage also tries to give back to the business community by offering free software such as the Start Your Own Business Software to small and start-up companies.
The cynical view would be that the actions that business take to be social responsible also have a cost saving benefit for the business such as tax credits for charitable giving or a direct cost saving for ‘green’ actions like reducing electricity consumption.
The important point is that clever business practice takes a lot of different considerations into mind when making a decision about a particular part of the business operation and companies that are responsible will also have this as one of the items on their list during the decision making process.
Benefits of CSR to a business
There can be many business benefits of CSR such as staff retention, improved public perception and reputation of the company and brand differentiation. If this has got you interested, here is a list of small things you can do to be more socially responsible in your business;
- Making your office and website accessible to people with disabilities
- Providing Fair trade coffee and tea in your office
- Proving digital invoices and payslips instead of printed ones to help the environment
- Making employees aware of their rights surrounding time off
- Even something as small as linking to some charity websites from your website or blogroll
- Giving valuable work experience at your company to transition year or college students
Perhaps this has given you some ideas as to how you can be more socially responsible in your own business and if you are already giving back let us know how by commenting below.