These are just three of the headlines on the BBC website over the past week and it doesn’t make for particularly pleasant reading.
Over the past decade I have become increasingly aware of the environmental issues facing us all and also what I can do as an individual to help prevent mankind totally destroying the planet.
However, I have also become increasingly aware of the responsibility of organisations in firstly effecting the environmental change needed but also in protecting our communities both inside and outside of the organisation itself.
CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility, was first used as a term by American economist Howard Bowen in 1953. However, there is also evidence that the origins of responsible business can be traced back to the 1800’s (www.thomasnet.com). This began at the time of the Industrial Revolution and just as business and industry has evolved so has CSR.
No longer does the “C” just refer to Corporate but can apply to Community, Charitable, Consumer, Collective or Company, in reality it applies to us all. In the last decade we have also seen other terminology used to describe CSR including ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) a term widely adopted by the city. Also, Sustainability, first used to focus on the environment and ensure that businesses work towards ensuring long term sustainability, but this is now also applied to internal and external factors affecting organisations.
One definition that is used globally now is the UN social development goals . The 17 goals have been developed to provide guidance to organisations that are looking to become socially responsible and are deemed to be the most important issues we face.
The most important change in recent years though has been the increased demand from consumers and business customers for any organisation that is selling a product or service to be socially responsible. Many are now realising that if they aren’t they will lose business. Not only that, but it will also be more difficult to recruit and retain staff.
Whilst we can all say governments have to legislate to make change happen, the truth is that it is our demand that will either force change or allow businesses to ignore what is really needed.
One way to demonstrate that your organisation is working towards these goals and recognising what their customers want and need is to gain accreditation. CSR Accreditation (CSR-A) is a leading UK based company delivering a global standard for social responsibility and helps facilitate change through accreditation and training programmes, helping organisations meet their corporate and social goals. To find out more contact us.
Most people are inherently good and want to do the right thing but we all now need to work together to evolve for the good of the global community and now is the time to act not next year or the year after. If we do, the evolution will be good and not what many fear might be the case.