April/May 2019

How CSR policies can benefit smaller companies

Corporate and Social Responsibility policy has become one of the latest boxes to tick for companies. For larger businesses it is an essential component of their annual report and they will spend time and energy to make sure that the policy has real depth to it, contributing to the overall business strategy. For smaller companies, there is often a groan as the leaders quickly turn to Google to cut and paste a policy that enables them to tick that box.

They may need to take it further as more and more companies are demanding information on CSR from their supplier base and using it as one of the criteria in assessing suitability for them to be on an approved supplier list causing them to think harder about what their responsibilities are. An effective CSR policy is about much more than just being accountable for the impact you have on society and the wider world, if done properly it provides the opportunity to create a business that nurtures its employees, protects the environment and provides a positive force in the communities it is part of.  For progressive companies it can provide so much more:

Enhancing employee involvement
Wouldn’t you want to work for a company that creates a great public image and gives you the opportunity to participate with pride in activities that go far beyond the day to day job and creates a positive working environment? These can be developed through fun, team building and learning activities that have a common goal. So, a creative and real CSR policy can help attract and retain staff at all levels and leads to greater involvement and cohesion.

Improves public image
Showing a commitment to more than just making money and demonstrating a real philanthropy and care for communities and environment can help build awareness and a favourable impression leading to customer loyalty and referrals. Achieving the right publicity for your endeavours fosters a wider awareness of your business and your ethical intent.

Boosting stakeholder involvement
Stakeholders include not only employees and customers but also suppliers, neighbours, prospects, advisors and the wider community. There is no doubt that it is easier to engage with these groups and create a more favourable impression if you are asking them to participate in activity for the common good. It can also help you identify those with similar ideals and commitment.

Case Study:
We are a Manchester based Telecoms company, part of the Rose Communications Group, providing comprehensive Unified Communications solutions to a wide range of businesses across the region and across the country. With a national staff of nearly 50 people and being engaged with everything from hosted phone systems, broadband, leased lines, mobile phones to valuable add on services and much more, we recognise our impact on the environment and decided that it was time to do something positive about it.

Already as a business that was committed to charitable donations, we decided to develop a comprehensive CSR strategy that met our ideals and at the same time addressed some of our challenges. Recognising the considerable environmental impact that mobile phones have, Alfonica wanted to find a way to reduce that impact and at the same time find a way to help the wider community.

We firstly chose to narrow the focus of our philanthropic activity to commit our fundraising efforts to Children. Health and Education gave our employees a cause that they could all adopt with enthusiasm. Identifying a number of possible recipients, we decided to start by entering a Corporate Partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity (GOSH), one of the leading children’s hospitals in the world, and one of the most recognised UK charities.

Whilst located in London, GOSH has national and international reach and a reputation for helping some of the most difficult cases, whilst providing support to the patients and their families. We came up with a scheme being jointly branded to “Clear out your Clutter” – the recycling of old mobile phones, tablets, MP3, iPods and even laptops with 100% of the proceeds raised going to the charity.

We are engaging with our customers, contacts and the wider communities to take attractive collection boxes to encourage staff to donate their unwanted devices. Clearing out the Clutter will not only provide valuable funds for this fantastic charity it will also help save the planet.

Maxi Rose, Alfonica

For Alfonica this is just the starting point and we already have plans to expand on the success created. This shows that it is possible to create a virtuous circle that benefits all the stakeholders, the wider community and even the environment by taking a creative approach to what had previously been seen as just a chore and a box to be ticked. Smaller businesses can benefit just as much as large ones from taking a positive approach to CSR.

If you would like to participate in the Alfonica/GOSH recycling scheme, go to www.alfonica.com/GOSH. It could be the starting point for your CSR policy!

Maxi Rose, Alfonica