According to Fabric MD, Gill Pipkin, embedding corporate social responsibility (CSR) into your core business could give you a significant competitive edge.
“An ethos built around ensuring your organisation has a positive impact on social and environmental well-being will make you more attractive to consumers and potential employees which is good for profitability, future stability and growth,” she says.
CSR has been around a while now, but more recently has come to the forefront of business thinking as consumers become more aware of the need to act responsibly with regard to the environment and society.
There are three main themes to corporate social responsibility. Many organisations have already made good progress with tackling their carbon footprint – this makes clear economic sense as it can lead to savings on overheads and thus increased profitability.
Socially responsible businesses are also looking at employment practices, ensuring they treat workers fairly and ethically. Where organisations have addressed this agenda, they become the employer of choice and thus have access to the top talent in their field.
An organisation with clear links to wider society has distinct long-term advantages. Whether it is through financial support for charities, or a more hands on approach to getting involved with community groups or participating in fundraising activities, businesses that perform ‘good deeds without obvious return’ appeal to socially conscious consumers and employees.
Fabric Business Services has been established to support organisations in Cornwall address their business conscience. Gill Pipkin has extensive experience in the hospitality and healthcare industries where she has been responsible for leading projects to improve resource management, increase staff motivation and well-being, and implement community involvement schemes. A key theme is the need to focus on the triple bottom line – people, planet and profit.
Pipkin has also volunteered with a number of charities and community groups. She believes there is great benefit in businesses and voluntary sector organisations working together.
“Charities and community groups benefit through working with business, from fundraising to sharing of expertise, particularly financial and managerial,” she says.
“The benefit for business is staff engagement and involvement which could result from working together on fundraising or in practical help. This translates into a more loyal and committed workforce with shared values and ethos.”
The Corporate Social Responsibility agenda is here to stay, and businesses who work towards embedding it in their core values will have a competitive advantage with both consumers and employees.
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