Updated: Dec 9, 2019
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is generally a company’s commitment to conducting its business in a way that is as ethical as possible. A CSR strategy will acknowledge a company’s social, economic, and environmental impact, and outline the ways in which it is seeking to lessen, or compensate for, this impact.
An effective CSR strategy should filter through all aspects of the business and can involve a wide range of initiatives. This will often include activities such as waste reduction, responsible sourcing, working in partnership with local communities and socially responsible investment.
Why is CSR important?
CSR shouldn’t be seen as a box to tick, or an unnecessary drain on resources. An integrated approach to sustainability can help a business to stay innovative and competitive, while also having a positive impact on its relationships with different stakeholder groups.
With the world becoming more socially conscious than ever before, people are starting to pay more attention to the ethicality of the business practices of the organisations that they interact with in all aspects of their lives.
Being well-known for positive CSR policies can therefore be a great way for businesses to attract top talent, win new business, increase customer retention, improve relationships with suppliers, and build a positive brand image.
How is it changing - growing role of sustainability?
Recently, there has been a significant shift in society’s attitude towards sustainability. Large amounts of publicity around the extent of plastic pollution have led to an impending European ban on single-use plastics, and a heightened awareness of our environmental impact, both individually and on a corporate scale.
In reaction to this, businesses should be making it a priority to ensure that their environmental CSR policies are up to scratch, to avoid attracting any unwanted criticism over the coming years. This will involve paying particular attention to minimising energy and water use, improving waste management, increasing recycling, reducing emissions, and implementing eco-friendly office policies.
The good news is that these activities are not only beneficial from an environmental perspective, but also provide opportunities to make considerable cost savings too.
How can sustainability be achieved?
When businesses start looking to decrease their environmental impact, technology can often provide the answer.
For example, one of the most effective steps that a business can take is to reduce, or even eliminate, their reliance on paper. Research has shown that some workers in the UK use an average of 45 pieces of paper a day, with a shocking two-thirds of that considered to be waste.
For industries in which a lot of paperwork is carried out in the field, such as construction or utilities, implementing a digital data capture solution, such as the WorkMobile app, allows all paper forms and reports to be replaced with digital versions.
Doing so offers businesses a host of benefits, saving them time and money, and enabling them to become more productive and compliant. Importantly, however, it also significantly reduces paper waste. Digital data capture solutions are therefore a really simple, quick way for these businesses to make a huge difference to their sustainability.