The Necessity of CSR and Social Innovation in Business

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The Necessity of CSR and Social Innovation in Business
Credit Unsplash

IT is a question anyone running a business should ask themselves as they create a roadmap for growth in 2024.

Can you make a profit AND be socially responsible?

The answer to this is overwhelmingly yes, but the journey towards getting there can often be complex – and is never easy.
Here’s my advice on how you can best grow your profits while also committing to being more socially responsible:

Reduce carbon footprint

The logical starting point for business leaders to consider when trying to improve their CSR strategy is by reducing the daily negative environmental impact of the business and its employees.

For every business there are immediate steps that should be taken and guidelines that should be implemented for employees in terms of generally promoting sustainable practices.

For the employees, you should encourage: lift shares, cycling to work or using public transport where possible, using recycling bins, using digital documents rather than printed; and even getting involved in or organising environmentally friendly group activities. I particularly like the idea of quarterly events where the employees go litter picking as a team, for example.

For the business itself, you can reduce energy wastage through energy management systems, purchase more environmentally friendly products and supplies that are used by the business day to day, or simply encourage a working from home policy to reduce fossil fuel usage (when applicable and appropriate).

Support charities locally or globally

At Champions (UK) plc, we’ve supported Rainbows Children’s Hospital since 2007 and currently are sitting on an all-time total amount raised for the charity of nearly £3,000,000. This may seem like an unattainable figure to reach for some businesses, but the vital thing is just getting started and
making an effort to support a charity. Before you know it, you may have had a really big impact.

The key thing to remember is this is not only about directly donating cash to a charity (although if you’re able to do that, that’s great), but rather about raising the money and supporting the charity through fundraising events and promotional support.

So, if you’re a business leader in 2024, it’s time to pick your official charity partner now and get started on supporting them. It’s my opinion that every successful business should have an official charity partner.

Support socially innovative business initiatives

In the modern business era, there’s a lot of interest from customer level all the way up to investor level for businesses which are aiming to solve a societal issue or have a positive impact on the world.

One initiative I hold in high regard which provides a strong example of how the business community can support social innovation and have a positive impact on society is the Entrepreneurs Award in Social Innovation (EASI).

Created by The Company of Entrepreneurs, a livery company of the City of London, this award highlights and boosts the growth of businesses which are solely focussed on having a positive impact on society.

I think this clearly shows that the whole aim of a business can be a positive outcome for society and still remain profitable. However, if this kind of strategy is not part of your business plans or possible for you as a business leader, you can still get involved in and support fantastic initiatives like this that aim to support businesses that do just that.

Measure and report on your CSR progress

You need a tangible outcome that you’re aiming for and can demonstrate progress towards. Whether it’s a goal of a certain amount of money raised for charity or a goal of a switch over to using all green products and reducing emissions, you need to have an end result you can demonstrate and publicise.

Without a starting point, a clear plan and an end result; CSR efforts can often become a bit of a stab in the dark. If you’re going to put significant effort into this aim, you want a clear positive result you can shout about.

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