CSR: “Big pay and little responsibility are circumstances seldom found together.”

October 29 12:58 2015

SkillsbridgeNapoleon Hill, an American author, once said “Big pay and little responsibility are circumstances seldom found together.” How does this quote reflect CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) in today’s world of business?

The quote would suggest that with success comes responsibility and whilst larger corporate organisations have developed their CSR policies, it is usually covered in legislative language such as Health & Safety or Human Rights Acts etc. The growing trend is for these larger organisations to measure the impact and effectiveness of their CSR activities with John Lewis Partnership offering an amazing example of their activity reporting.

As consumers become more educated about organisations and their behaviour towards human rights, fair trading practices and the environment, so organisations have strengthened their policies around CSR. In recent times, Nike had a huge image problem when customers discovered the conditions of their workers in factories around the world, the net effect being a $20 drop in price per share.

Many companies now proudly publish documents on their websites with extensive information on their CSR activity. Unilever has developed a CSR microsite that includes a breakdown of its greenhouse gas footprint and how it intends to lower it through investment in product innovation, for example.

Yet CSR isn’t just about rectifying mistakes (Nike) and lowering impact (Unilever), it’s also about making a tangible and positive contribution at both a global and local community based level. Large companies are now realising the value CSR adds to their image along with the impact their actions can have on people’s lives and are now working to drive positive change around the world.

Many larger organisations could still do more to support the local community in which their businesses operate – a complimentary way to traditional CSR activities in achieving this could be through a skills volunteering programme, one which allows their staff to make a real difference to small and micro charities that operate within the same communities.

SkillsBridge, based in the North East of England operates a professional skills brokerage programme directly supporting small to medium sized charities and social enterprises and can show that we are able to assist charities in the local area to benefit from pro-bono consultancy which provides circa £800,000 worth of support to local organisations.

These small and medium sized charities are the ‘squeezed middle’ – the ones that have the most need but simply cannot afford to ‘buy’ the support required. This is where a skilled volunteering programme can make real differences to charities working hard for local communities. With support from businesses large and small, SkillsBridge advisors are able to offer professional mentoring to assist charities that require specialist advice.

However, small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) can make a difference too. Whilst smaller organisations tend not to have such well developed policies around CSR and may struggle to match large corporations’ global impact, they can make a difference to their local community. Local charities can benefit from relationships with local business through activities such as skilled volunteering or work placements for local people within the community. Research shows that although micro charities (charities with income below £10,000) make up 51% of all charities, they receive just 0.6% of charitable income.

The benefit for a small business that supports a local charity can be measured in a number of ways including increasing reputation within the community, gain otherwise unobtainable marketing and branding awareness through sponsorship and generally becoming more deeply involved in the support of the wider local community.

To find out more information about SkillsBridge and the work we do in the North East why not contact Chris Orrick our operations manager who would be happy to have an initial discussion with you.

Contact details: 0191 275 5059 / chris@skills-bridge.org / www.skills-bridge.org / @skillsbridge