No major company strategy is complete these days without a statement on corporate social responsibility (CSR). At a fundamental level, CSR involves going beyond looking solely at how to make the most money to include a wider commitment to building a better society. This can either be through business practices or through activities such as charitable donations or staff volunteering projects. (BBC, 22nd October 2012)
Klara Kozlov, senior advisory manager at the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), says schemes have to be of mutual benefit to both the corporate and the charity. Primark, the leading fashion retailer, has incorporated a programme around the HERproject (Health Enables Returns) in its CSR activity. HERproject is raising awareness and delivering healthcare education to female workers in supplier countries.
There can be many ways of measuring success, so, according to Klara Kozlov,"it's really important to have some clear goals in mind, and make sure those are shared and delivered for both partners", as well as a clear exit strategy that leaves the charity in a better place.
According to Mark Wakefield, corporate citizenship manager for IBM UK, said that the IBM group has recognised the value it gets from CSR, both from the employee's perspective - in improving staff engagement and morale, and by being an employer staff can feel good about - and from the perspective of clients, who are increasingly monitoring and checking their suppliers... (Click here for lesson resources)