Black Friday is now a part of the annual retailing programme, love it or hate it, it is probably here to stay.
Whatever you think of it, there are some businesses that are taking the opportunity to do some good on the back of the day and reading this article from Charity Digital News made me smile.
For the past two years I have been a non-exec director for Empower to Cook, a social enterprise business based in High Wycombe who provide cookery classes, food education and consultancy to children, community groups, families and corporates. Empower to Cook CIC was founded in 2014 by Michael Brown a trained and experienced chef and qualified teacher with a breadth of expertise working with and educating people about food. We aim to work with local charities who distribute food that would otherwise be discarded by supermarkets, ensuring there is less waste and those who need the food get it.
To me though, there is an even bigger picture and that is around getting businesses to do more in the community and develop a strategic approach to CSR. Having been involved in CSR with various clients and organisations over the years, I was involved with the launch of the first CSR accreditation mark in the UK, CSRA. Having launched the mark, we are now in the process of engaging with organisations across all sectors to not just get them to go through the accreditation process, but more importantly to adopt a strategic approach to CSR with their organisation. The benefits can be phenomenal with businesses benefiting from increased profile, additional business, greater staff retention and recruitment and increased productivity. If you then look at the benefits outside of the business and that is where the really impressive results can be seen. Local community projects being undertaken that would otherwise not have happen, local charities getting the support they need to do the incredible jobs they do and those people in the community who otherwise would suffer in some way having a better life, however small the improvement might be.
To me, CSR should be a legal requirement for all businesses, but until that day we are trying to get them to understand the benefits that can be gained for everyone. Seeing what Ethical Superstore are doing is a great example of how we can all help and will hopefully prompt other businesses to think about what they can do.
To find out more about CSR and how you can include it in your business strategy and reap the rewards it can deliver get in touch.