I went along to the seminar on Corporate Social Responsibility yesterday that was put on by Susie Andrade, of the Channel Island Skills Academy, and the Guernsey Chamber of Commerce. I expect it was a good introduction to the subject for many attendees but perhaps it did not go far enough. The area of CSR is one that is often misconstrued and many businesses need to be challenged on why they engage in CSR and how. More detail was needed on stressing the importance of changing the fundamental operations of a business to appropriately embrace CSR. Many use CSR to outwardly promote good practises while nothing significant really changes internally.
In PR we love CSR – when it is done right. We can make compelling stories about businesses acting responsibly, choosing ethical suppliers and making business decisions that have the needs of the community (local or global) at their heart. Apple recently hit the news with their announcement that they had been reviewing their supply chain to ensure all employees in a variety of geographies are treated equitably. Admittedly they did this after facing pressure from activist groups and the media which lessened the impact of their action. If, as a global business they had done this proactively it would have made a strong, PR-able story for the business, and, more importantly, won them the respect of their customers.
CSR should mean more than the odd charitable donation or staff shed-painting expedition. Don’t get me wrong, we love the odd bit of PR fluff here at Orchard towers, but we are much happier (and we get better results) when dealing with something that effects real change within a business environment.
Here are my tweets from the event:
At #csr seminar – 38% of consumers will pay more for socially responsible products or services…
360 registered charities in Guernsey – seems like quite a lot? #csr
#csr strategies need to think big, be long term and focus on sustainability not just short term quick wins.
#csr is not always about money? Can be time, knowledge or facilities. But in most businesses those things cost money?
Posted by Chris.