Friday, May 31, 2013

Making CSR a part of your company's DNA: Three do-now steps

"CSR" is Corporate Social Responsiblity. Although the term itself was first used in the 1960s, it's only in the past decade or so that it's been a common term. It essentially means that you're taking a good look at how the actions of your business impact society.
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Here at The Hub, we don't have an official CSR department. But that's largely due to the fact that things like environmental impact and social causes were written into our operations from the day we were founded. From our side of the desk, here are three steps to help you get started.

1. Decide how far you want to go.
CSR means a lot of different things to a lot of different companies. At one corporation, it can mean buying from only local suppliers. At another, it can mean lowering an environmental footprint. At still another, it can mean supporting not-for-profits in their goals. There's no right answer here, just the right answer for your company.
Same thing goes for how "official" you want to make it. Many major multi-nationals have CSR departments, but for small to medium businesses, CSR could just mean a dedicated change in the way you look at the impact of your daily operations. You don't need a whole department for that.

2. Ask your employees.
Make sure your entire company is behind your commitment to CSR by doing one thing: Asking. Ask them what type of CSR they want to engage in. Do they have any favorite causes? Do they have personal commitments to charities? How would they like to see the company respond to matters of the environment, or humanitarian affairs?
Your employees are the lifeblood of your company. Making sure they have a part in this process will ensure they are behind the decision you eventually make.

3. Ask for help.
Like anything business-related, this process will go much more smoothly if you can look to external resources. In our world of meetings and events, we have a set of green standards that we can check with, although we already had a set of internal green standards in place. And, no matter which industry you're in, you can check into the resources of Benefit Corporation, which we consider to be a standard to live by in terms of CSR. Many of the larger corporations make their CSR aims available online.

Making CSR a part of your company isn't a short or easy road. But for us, it's worth it in many ways, and in the long term--and isn't that what "sustainability" is about anyhow?

Tell us your thoughts on CSR in the comments, below.