FROM the FT to Facebook, the question about the impact of the economic downturn on CSR (corporate social responsibility) is everywhere and the view of Scottish Business in the Community (SBC) – the charity committed to the promotion of responsible business practice – is that the recession will ultimately prove to be good news for CSR.
Of course, there will be some changes – those policies that are more about platitudes than performance will go.
Says a spokesperson: “For example, there will be a reduction in traditional philanthropy with less cash to give to charity. Economists forecast a decline in charitable giving of five per cent in 2009 and three per cent in 2010 before a recovery in 2011. Scottish Business in the Community believes this will be balanced out with a significant increase in CSR practices that improve business performance.”
SBC’s chief executive, Samantha Barber, says: “There are many reasons why the world’s economy has taken a dive but they all highlight the need for responsible business practice more starkly than anything else in the 26-year history of SBC. For CSR to work it has to be about tangible business benefits, as well as society and the environment, and it has to be real. The global crisis has proven that CSR isn’t a nice to have, it’s a necessity.”
Responsible businesses benefit from trust, reduced risk, increased opportunity and a focus on long-term growth. For some companies, the recession is a matter of survival – the fittest will survive and CSR helps businesses get fitter with tangible benefits.
Barber continues: “CSR, as a sustainable, efficient and effective framework for doing business, is fundamental to business success and now more important than ever. Smart businesses are continuing with a robust CSR approach – developing skills, trading responsibly, reducing environmental impact and working with communities – and some are even revisiting their responsible business strategies with renewed vigour.”
SBC can help businesses of all sizes integrate responsible practices in to their core operations. For example, reducing environmental impact is an obvious way to save money. As is community engagement – it comes in many forms but all share the same quality of improving staff retention, which saves money and promotes that elusive ‘feel good’ factor.
Business needs a bit of the ‘feel good’ factor now more than ever. Reward and recognition go a long way in building this and that is why SBC runs its annual ‘Awards for Excellence’. The Awards, and the consultation SBC provides as part of the process, offer a free business tool that allows businesses to improve their CSR strategy and to celebrate those who excel in this exciting new way of doing business.
*CASE STUDIES AND INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE*
Lisa Dransfield email@example.com
0131 451 1100/ 07717 817 779
Caryn Robertson firstname.lastname@example.org
0131 451 1100/ 07920 234 642
Notes to editors:
Scottish Business in the Community (SBC) is a not-for-profit company whose aim is to support, broker and challenge businesses to continually improve their positive impact on society and the environment. It is led by its member companies, a prestigious group committed to the promotion of responsible business practice in Scotland.
A sophisticated network of multi-sector contacts and 25 years of experience makes SBC the logical route through which the Scottish business community responds to the challenge of improving its impact on society. SBC is the natural route for organisations wishing to drive forward their Corporate Responsibility (CR) agenda in Scotland.www.sbcscot.com
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